Greater Women of Central N.J. winners to be honored Feb. 15

Greater Media Newspapers is hosting its first annual Greater Women of Central New Jersey Feb. 15. For the past two months, nominations have been solicited for women working in the disciplines of business, health care and nonprofit. The nominees are women who have been able to triumph despite the challenges and make a true difference through their efforts. According to Greater Media Newspapers Promotions Coordinator Susan Greitz, more than 150 nominations have been received. Following is a sample of the nominees.

Kathryn Barnett, who was nominated by Suzann Brucato, runs the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance in Red Bank. Barnett’s motto is “It’s all about the kids.” In nominating Barnett, Brucato said: “Kathryn teaches children an appreciation of the art, the origins of dance, about the music and about themselves. She demonstrates respect and sets an example that the children carry with them both in and out of class. Kathryn provides experiences that help each child as they grow on both a physical and emotional level.”

Debra Kuhn, R.T., has worked at CentraState Medical Center for the past 10 years, nine of those years in the Women’s Health Center as the lead mammography technician. According to her sister, Diane Hart, Kuhn’s goal was always to make a patient’s experience as comfortable as possible. Over the years, patients would specifically request her as their technician, knowing her gentle touch and sincerity would help them through what can be an uncomfortable visit.

Cynthia Zipf has been passionate about the ocean for as long as she can remember. She was planning to become a marine biologist when she began interning with the American Littoral Society in 1982. Two years later, she became part of a task force to end ocean dumping, which evolved into the activist group Clean Ocean Action. Zipf was the very first staff person and has been the executive director ever since. Nominated by friend and fellow activist Mary Owen, Zipf and her coalition have accomplished what many said couldn’t be done — ended ocean dumping in New Jersey.

Tracey Lewis, M.D, Ph.D., has been running the Chiapas Mission for Sight to Ocotopec, Chiapas, Mexico, for the past two years. Dr. Lewis organizes the mission twice a year to provide cataract surgery to the poor who live in this remote area, which is three hours from the nearest town or doctor. She was nominated by her husband, Craig, who cites the many hours she spends recruiting doctors and assistants, securing financial and medical supply donations, and supplementing with her own money when she comes up short. She also takes food and clothing to the orphanage there. Hundreds of people line up for the free vision care, despite the rebels who threaten the area while fighting for land rights. According to Craig Lewis, each time Dr. Lewis returns from a trip, he is overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and excitement she displays at being able to help so many people see, some for the first time in their lives, despite the adversity she faces trying to accomplish her mission.

These four women are a few examples of the many nominees who have made a difference in the lives of those they touch. Fifteen finalists, five for each category, will be selected by a panel of judges; there will be one winner for each category: business, health care and nonprofit. The winners will be announced at the Feb. 15 luncheon at the Grand Marquis, Route 9, Old Bridge. A list of the finalists will be published the week before the luncheon. Prior to the lunch, attendees are invited to browse the sponsor showcase and enjoy light refreshments.

Rosemarie Poverman, a licensed clinical social worker, is the special guest speaker for the luncheon. Poverman has had a varied and colorful life. She has been a flotilla commander in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, has worked as a licensed flagperson in the Sports Car Club of America, and is a published photographer. Married to her college sweetheart, she has raised three children. Her humorous approach is known to leave audiences with a renewed sense of their ability to be creative, stay energized and keep smiling.

The cost to attend the luncheon is $50 per person or $450 for a table of 10. Fifty percent of the net proceeds of this event will benefit the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. For luncheon reservations contact Susan Greitz at (732) 358-5200, ext. 8293. The first annual Greater Women of Central New Jersey is sponsored by CentraState Medical Center and Irwin Lincoln and Mercury, both in Freehold Township, and Werner Dodge in the Belford section of Middletown.