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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

Breaking Boundaries Dinner celebrates leadership at SJA

Kristin Guglietti/THG Guest speakers Regina Ridge, Joan Somogy, Sharon Morgan, Debra Fox, Tamara Turman and Michelle Baylor spoke during the St. Joseph Academy Women Institute of Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) Program’s first annual Breaking Boundaries Dinner on Feb. 23 at the media center.

HAMMONTON—St. Joseph Academy (SJA) held the Women Institute of Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) Program’s first annual Breaking Boundaries Dinner on Feb. 23 at the media center where guest speakers talked with students about leadership and what it means to be a leader.

Guest speakers included Regina Ridge, Joan Somogy, Sharon Morgan, Debra Fox, Tamara Turman and Michelle Baylor.

SJA student Riley Hunter welcomed everyone.

“As a young woman, a friend, a student, an athlete, a daughter and a sister, I thank the W.I.L.D. club for everything it’s helped me with,” Hunter said.

Next, SJA W.I.L.D. Program Advisor Nicole Fox thanked everyone for coming out and talked about the W.I.L.D. club’s vision statement.

“The St. Joseph Academy Women in Leadership Club envisions a future where young women guided by their unwavering faith, fortified by their strength of their families and driven by their aspirations for a brighter future, stand as pillars of moral leadership and empowerment,” Fox said. “As we continue to grow here at St. Joseph Academy, we hope to continue to grow our women’s club here as it’s a staple for St. Joseph Academy.”

Students, parents and members of the community then broke into groups to listen to the guest speakers. Every 15 minutes the groups would switch classrooms to listen to a different speaker.

Turman who invented the pocketbook protector spoke on the importance in believing in yourself.

Baylor, the Director of Health and Human Services, told students to volunteer in fields they have an interest for.

Ridge, the Vice President of Trauma and Victim Response Services at the Center for Family Services talked about how inclusive leadership requires input from others.

Morgan, who is a leader on Fox Rothchild’s executive committee and as managing partner and as a co-chair of the environmental department, said all leaders have different strengths.

Somogy, the Strategic Advisor at LS Technologies, mentioned a Harvard Business Review article that said women are better leaders during crisis such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. She talked about keeping a journal and how good leaders are accountable for their mistakes.

Debra Fox, Chief Transformation Officer, said it’s important to speak up and that leaders can be assertive without being aggressive.

The guest speakers also went into detail about different leadership characteristics and obstacles women face.

During the dinner, The Gazette spoke with Nicole Fox.

“There’s so many reasons to have women in leadership. We’re moving into an era where women are now in my opinion ruling the world and in many ways we have to continue to promote that ideology for young students so that they know that there are opportunities out there beyond what is really in their communities by providing them with jobs, careers and leadership that our outside of their communities, outside of their bubble that they tend to be in high school. It shows them that they can branch out and discover and make connections early,” Fox said.

One of the reasons SJA hosted the event was to give students an opportunity to network with women in leadership positions.

“I hope that our students are able to take away that they can do whatever they want in their life, in their career as long as they set their minds to it to continuously be fearless and unafraid and continue to grow in their discovery and want to continue to learn because I think as being a woman in leadership it’s always important for you to learn, to change your craft and talk to other people and really just connect,” Fox said.

Fox hopes to make the Breaking Boundaries Dinner an annual event and throughout the year she said other speakers will be talking to W.I.L.D. Program students.


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