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Hon. Wilda Diaz, Mayor, City Of Perth Amboy
Mayor Wilda Diaz was re-elected as Mayor of the City of Perth Amboy for a third [four-year] term in November 2016. She was first sworn-in on July 1, 2008, becoming the first female to hold that office and currently the only elected Latina mayor in the State of New Jersey.
Since her election in 2008, Mayor Diaz has been at the forefront of issues such as expanding programs for our children, youth and families with the use of limited resources, creating an open and honest government, business expansion, job creation and preserving and restoring the City’s history. This includes her efforts placed towards two of the City’s most utilized historic structures, the Perth Amboy Free Public Library, with nearly $2 million in capital improvements and the redesign plans and preservation of the Perth Amboy Train Station.
Rohan DeFreitas, Principle/CEO, Crescent Consulting
Mr. DeFreitas co-founded Crescent Consulting in 2001 with his partner Mr. Luis Segarra. His role includes Public Affairs, Community Outreach, Business Development and the day-to-day management of the company. He is also responsible for creating Crescents’ management services profile for the various governmental requirements as well as the reporting procedures and methods used on a project-by-project basis. Mr. DeFreitas provides Executive Oversight on all projects in order to ensure success for the client and Crescent.
Mr. DeFreitas’ over 27 years of experience and knowledge of the construction industry has allowed Crescent to successfully manage over 100 projects resulting in over $2 billion in contracts being awarded to Disadvantaged, Minority, Women and Local Businesses.
Pauline Gebon, Global Head of Supplier Diversity, MetLife
Pauline is the Global Head of Supplier Diversity for MetLife, Inc. She is a veteran supplier diversity advocate. At MetLife, Pauline has responsibility for the overall supplier diversity strategy development and implementation within the organization both in the US and international markets. Pauline’s passion and commitment to supplier diversity and minority business development continues to be demonstrated as she advocates and delivers measurable results through internal partnering and teaming, developed and implemented an integrated supplier diversity process across multiple departments of MetLife, builds awareness and support for supplier diversity through consistent communications with key stakeholders.
Under Pauline’s leadership MetLife’s supplier diversity program has grown significantly to include components such as the “Rule of One”, monthly opportunity forecasting, internal mentorship, and Tier II deployment.
I. Javette Hines, Director, Head of Supply Chain Development, Inclusion and Sustainability, Citi
IlLonka (Javette) Hines is Director, Head of Supply Chain Development, Inclusion and Sustainability at Citi. Javette leads Citi’s efforts to ensure the consideration and inclusion of diverse firms within Citi’s sourcing practices. Additionally, she is responsible for working across the firm with sourcing and business units to align supplier selection efforts with Citi’s 10 year $100B Climate initiative and 5 year Sustainability Strategy. Javette has over 20 years of experience in procurement, leadership, diversity, contracts, and management.
Paola Camargo, Manager of Training Programs and Outreach Events, The Regional Alliance for Small Contractors
Paola Camargo is the Manager of Training Programs and Outreach Events for the Regional Alliance for Small Contractors, a non for profit organization that provides technical assistance to Minority and Women Owned Construction firms. Ms. Camargo has over 15 years of experience in working with Minority and Women Owned businesses, coordinating training and workshops to help build and increase their capacity to compete within the industry. She oversees the Managing Growth® Program, an award winning training program that has been attended by over 15,000 firms over the past 27 years. The courses have been recognized in several studies to positively impact the ability of firms to win bid awards. Ms. Camargo also has extensive experience in organizing and coordinating outreach and networking events to benefit minority and women owned businesses.
Theresa L. Childress, Associate Director, National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc
Theresa Childress, currently is the Associate Director for the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. A New Jersey native, she has been employed by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (located in New York City for over 30 years). As a child who experienced the Civil Rights era, giving up is never an option.
A true believer in humor and laughter being good for the soul, uplifting others is very important. That is one of the reasons she continues to have unlimited passion and enthusiasm about the organization that continues to strive for the development of minority owned businesses.
Janald Walden, Deputy Diversity Compliance Manager, Tappen Zee Bridge-EnTech
Janald Walden currently serves as Deputy Diversity Compliance Manager on one of the largest Federally Funded Civil Rights Diversity Programs in U.S. history. Janald has over 15 years of invaluable experience successfully managing high profile Civil Rights Diversity Compliance Programs. To date, Janald has successfully managed five major New York City mega-infrastructure bridge projects totaling over five billion dollars in federal funding for the New York City and New York State Department of Transportation. Janald is currently overseeing the largest Federal Civil Rights Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program in New York State history. The New York State Thruway Authority appointed Janald as Deputy Diversity Compliance Manager on The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge project, formerly known as the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Gregory A. Jenifer, President & CEO, Armand Resource Group, Inc
Gregory Jenifer is the President & CEO of Armand Resource Group, Inc. (ARG). He has over 30 years of experience in D/M/W/SBE Program design and implementation services. Mr. Jenifer is responsible for implementing the company’s vision/mission to assist in the design, innovation and implementation of programs to promote diversity and economic equality through the identification, utilization and development of disadvantaged businesses and human resources.
Ronaldo Linares, CEO & Executive Chef, Martino’s Cuban Restaurant
Chef Ronaldo Linares is the author of Sabores de Cuba: Diabetes Friendly Traditional and Nueva Cubano Cuisine and America’s leading expert on healthy Latino cooking.
Ronaldo describes his cooking and his approach to life as Cuban-inspired and passion infused. Ronaldo gives mas sabor to everything he does, as CEO and Executive Chef of his family’s restaurant: Martino’s Cuban Restaurant in Somerville, NJ, as a brand partner with Healthfirst, American Heart Association National Spokesperson for the Healthy for good campaign, AARP caregivers program and of course being a husband and a father.
He was born in Colombia during the turbulent Cartel wars of the 1980s, cooking has saved him in many ways and has been the main ingredient in Ronaldo’s journey from young immigrant to rebellious teen to successful chef and media personality.
Rick Martinez, Owner, Senor Sangria
Rick Martinez is a NJ native. The early part of his childhood was spent in West New York. He went to high school in Cliffside Park and ended up going to Rutgers University in Newark. His parents are Cuban and he is the first in his family to be born in the US.
Even though he majored in accounting when at Rutgers, his career started in about 1995 with the internet boom. He thought himself to program and over time developed the skills to be able to take ideas/concepts and convert that into a software products. In 2006 he started Señor Sangria which brought him into a beverage industry an industry he knew nothing about. Similar to his prior career he sat down studied the business and hasn’t looked back.
Leo Cervantes, Owner, Chilangos Mexican Restaurant
At the age of 19, Leo Cervantes began pursuing the American dream, when he emigrated from Mexico City, moved to Bradley Beach NJ, learned to speak fluent English and started his own businesses. Now, the chef, owner of Chilangos Mexican Restaurant in Highlands and Chilangos La Playa in Keansburg, creator of Naked Tamales and manager of the musical group JannyMarco, tells his story about what it’s like to be unstoppable in his book, “Chilangos in the House: The True Story of a MexiCan”. Leo, 46 is the father of three children and lives in New Jersey.
Hipatia Lopez, Owner, H.L. Unico LLC
Hipatia Lopez, was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from William Paterson University with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She has worked in public accounting for 6 years. She currently has 2 Part-time jobs and has started her own company called H.L. Unico LLC. She opened her business because she invented a kitchen utensil called “Empanada Fork” which is a pastry press used to make fork like impressions on dough. She has 2 design patents on her invention. She loves being an entrepreneur and hopes to inspire other women to invent.
Samuel P. Lamparello, President & CEO, MLB Residential Lending LLC
Samuel P. Lamparello is a 30-year mortgage professional and the CEO of MLB Residential Lending LLC, a community-focused lender with over 10 offices throughout 5 states. Samuel is truly defined, however, not by his title but as a Christian, a patriot, a loving husband, and a devoted father. It is from these values that he has built the company and grows his team of mortgage professionals who, like him, are passionate about helping others fulfill the American Dream of home ownership. Under Samuel’s leadership, MLB frequently and consistently contributes to the well-being of local communities, donating to charitable organizations and engaging in the growth and development of a fair market for home buyers.
Patricia Fulks, Program Manager, Hudson County Department of Parks and Community Services, Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise
Patricia Fulks, an employee of the Hudson County Government since 1989, was one of the first staff members of the Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprise, when it was enacted in 1990.
As a program manager, Ms. Fulks was instrumental in the development of program standards, policies and procedures which are essential for meeting the Office's mission set forth by the County. As part of her responsibilities as the program manager, she helps guide business life cycles, planning, and implementation of seminars and workshops that enhance the development and productivity of women and minority business firms. For over 28 years Patricia has been a driving force at the Hudson County Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise in helping to empower small businesses within the community by providing educational resources. Patricia has also served as an adjunct instructor of civics and American history at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, N J.