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Deborah Visconi, president and CEO of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, was one of five New Jersey leaders honored as Women of Achievement by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs at its 2024 annual convention in Atlantic City earlier this month. 

Several hundred club women and guests attended the event, where the NJSFWC also announced the fundraising success of its state project for 2022-2024 benefiting the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation. The NJSFWC raised $72,000 in cash donations and $202,000 in in-kind contributions for the nonprofit, which provides in-home professional counseling, material assistance and emergency financial aid to families facing pediatric cancer diagnoses. 

In addition to recognizing Visconi, the NJSFWC honored four other women leaders during its Women of Achievement Gala: Catherine Kerri, president of EPOCH, a program for children with special needs; Geeta Chopra, television host, Central New Jersey Network (CNJN); Debra Lynch, a retired psychologist who spent her career working with adults with developmental disabilities; and Donna Ward, VP of sales, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. 

During the second evening of the convention, new clubs were introduced and the Cecilia Gaines Holland Award for volunteer service by a clubwoman outside of her NJSFWC commitments was given to Phyllis Chanda in recognition of her work with Habitat for Humanity and other community organizations. 

New officers for the 2024-2026 Board of Directors were installed, including new NJSFWC President Barbara McCloskey, who announced that the New Jersey Children’s Alliance (NJCA) will be the NJSFWC’s new 2024-2026 special state project. 

The New Jersey Children’s Alliance (NJCA) is a nonprofit that promotes hope, healing and justice for victims of child abuse throughout New Jersey by supporting Child Advocacy Centers with training, resources, advocacy, and leadership. 

Martha Hall Kelly, who wrote the 2016 New York Times bestseller “Lilac Girls,” gave the opening keynote at the convention, speaking about how she developed the idea for her World War II novel, the importance of perseverance, and the healing power of female friendship.  

About the New Jersey State Federations of Women’s Clubs 

The New Jersey State Federations of Women’s Clubs (NJSFWC), a volunteer community service organization, was founded in 1894 and is headquartered on the Douglass College campus in New Brunswick. The NJSFWC founded the New Jersey College for Women, now known as Douglass College (Rutgers), in 1918. In 2020, the organization, with a membership of over 6,200, reported almost 16,963 community service projects involving over 320,119 volunteer hours and $2.3 million in cash and in- kind donations. The NJSFWC is a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information about the NJSFWC and/or membership in a local club, call 732-249-5474 or visit