In celebration of the last official day of Women’s History Month, Stockton students and faculty gathered virtually on March 31st to celebrate the success of women in business and academia. During this gathering, eight speakers shared their experience and advice on achieving success. This was an effort sponsored by the School of Business in an attempt to broaden the horizons for those receptive to their lessons, and to inspire those who may be struggling in their professional journeys.
Dr. Noel Criscione-Naylor of Stockton’s School of Business organized and moderated the event, which featured panelists like businesswoman Christina Sweiderk. Owner of a local boutique, Blink Beauty and Wellness, she claims to have overcome her doubts and set high expectations for herself, taking a leap of faith to become the first in her family to undertake such an endeavor. She advises others to break through their anxieties and take chances. Through her luxury services, she claims to uplift other women by sharing what she refers to as confidence, beauty, and a sense of power.
Stockton alumna Holly Michele found success in being an author and illustrator after giving up her role as a dental hygienist after the onset of the pandemic. Despite the hurdles the pandemic presented, she pursued her passion and found success as a published content creator. Through her experience, Michele claims to have discovered herself and her passions, and advised aspiring business owners to do the same.
Jessica Fiocca was another presenter who serves as the executive sales manager to Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Casino. She redefined her career pursuits, having left the healthcare industry to explore, travel, and relocate to a career near her loved ones. She claims to have overcome adversity with the assistance of mentors with identities and experiences similar to her own, and encouraged her to pursue an education in the hospitality industry. The strength she found in the community propelled her to success, according to Fiocca.
The next panelist, Nicole Wise, expressed how small town pride contributed to her success story. She dedicated herself to law school after obtaining a degree in International Business, and returned to South Jersey to practice locally until she was invited to her current position in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. She claims to have doubted her ability to trudge through the immense work of finishing school at times, yet persisted. Overcoming self-doubt and receiving proper support revitalized Wise’s drive to achieve success.
Prior to her current career path, Kristi Hanselmann studied Economics at TCNJ to support her family business and develop a career in public service. She grew from a member of Mullica Township’s Board of Education to Mayor of the town, using other municipal positions as stepping stones. Step by step, her journey pieced together like she pieced together departments of her town. Another champion of community, she believes collaboration and effective communication is key to success.
Catherine McDonnell started as a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross in her home country of Kenya, where she discovered her passion for the French language. She then studied French in Belgium for three years as a single-mother, eventually traveling to New Jersey to attend school. She continues her educational pursuits whilst working as a talent acquisition manager for Atlanticare. Despite her journey being long, she claims to have continued to trust in her future and pursue her passions while seeking “ways to stay relevant.”
Similar to other panelists, Chereyse Hepburn shares an adoration for her work. She is an educational interpreter and an Army National Guard Veteran. Like many aspiring professionals, she harbored anxiety about her future when she faced setbacks like self-doubt and difficulty with testing. Nonetheless, she claims to have overcome those setbacks once she embraced the love and support of her community.
Krystle Criscione, Stockton alumna and a single-mother, pursued years of educational success on both a national and international level. She studied a variety of S.T.E.M. subjects and is currently enrolled in medical school. She set out for a “job she didn’t have to vacation from” and explored different S.T.E.M. careers before deciding on medical care. During the panel, she placed emphasis on the importance of loving one’s career to prolong success in it.
These women all experienced adversity in their climb to the top in competitive, male-dominated fields. The panelists claim that support from friends and family was a common factor in coping with challenges, as well as developing a mentality that allows the envision of success. As the speakers pointed out, once one envisions their dream and builds confidence in it, they can very well achieve it. The School of Business’s upcoming events can be found on their page, or in the University’s event calendar. This site features contact information, upcoming events, news, and more.