The primary role of the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board is to provide mission-based visionary leadership and strategic governance to enhance the organization’s programs and services throughout the county. The Board is comprised of a diverse group of women of influence to ensure that it reflects the communities we serve and has the professional skill set to meet our fiduciary responsibility to the YWCA.
Serving on the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board is an extraordinary opportunity for strategic and future focused leaders who are passionate about the YWCA’s mission and vision. If you are interested in volunteering or in recommending an outstanding candidate, please contact Hanna Salvatore at email@example.com
As Chief Executive Officer since July 2011, Helen Archontou is focused on guiding YWCA Northern New Jersey (formerly YWCA Bergen County) into its next century of living its mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and strengthen families and communities.
Helen brings 25 years of executive management experience in the not-for-profit sector, which included heading up Saint Clare’s Hospital’s Center for the Protection of Children serving Morris & Sussex Counties; founding and leading Wynona’s House, New Jersey’s first co-location child advocacy and treatment center of child abuse serving Essex County; and directing the Bergen County Literacy Volunteers of America chapter. She also served as Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator for the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes & Child Abuse Unit.
Under Helen’s leadership, the organization has expanded and deepened its mission-based programming by providing a continuum of programs and services to support women in every stage of life and facilitating an ongoing community conversation on racial justice. In 2019, the organization expanded its service area to additional northern NJ counties and changed its name to YWCA Northern New Jersey, now serving Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic in addition to Bergen County.
In 2018, Helen established the Time Is Now Action Coalition with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle to focus on shifting the culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. This diverse group of over 50 government, business, labor, education, legal, faith-based, and non-profit leaders is working closely with the community to formulate an action plan to end sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence in our communities, ultimately making #MeToo obsolete.
Advocacy and policy reform are always at the core of Helen’s focus. In June 2016, state leaders appointed Helen to serve on the New Jersey Task Force on Campus Sexual Assault. The 12-member Task Force undertook a year-long mission to review policies and craft recommendations about how campus sexual assaults should be reported, adjudicated, and most importantly, prevented. The Task Force report—Addressing Campus Sexual Violence: Creating Safer Higher Education Communities— was published in June 2017.
Helen is the Co-Chairperson of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking’s Legislative Committee since May 2017 and a member of the Non-profit Steering Committee of CIANJ (Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey) since June 2019. In May 2017, Helen traveled to Washington DC to present at a Capitol Hill policy briefing that focused on girls’ financial literacy. In January 2019, she was a keynote presenter along with NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal at the Social Justice Forum hosted by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration Committee of Ridgewood and Glen Rock.
Helen’s professionalism has drawn several high-level accolades. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance Committee of Bergen County awarded YWCA Bergen County the 2016 Lee Reid Award for the organization’s profoundly important work in promoting racial and social justice–a tribute to Helen’s leadership and diligence. That same year, the Bergen County Commission on the Status of Women honored Helen at their Women’s History Month event Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government. In 2017, Helen was honored with a Women Empowering Women award by Key HR Consulting. In 2019, Helen received the Crime Victims’ Rights Award from the NJ Office of the Attorney General and the Excellence Awards for Victims’ Justice. She was also named among The Powerful Women of New Jersey in Senator Loretta Weinberg’s 2019, 2020 & 2021 Women Power List. In 2020 Helen received the Top 50 Women in Business Award from NJ Biz and the Top 25 Women in New Jersey Award from Leading Women Entrepreneurs.
Helen is sought after as a speaker as well as by the media for her expertise on topics such as supporting survivors of sexual violence, sexual violence prevention, racial justice, equal pay, women’s leadership, and women’s and girls’ empowerment. She is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University since 2005 in the School of Social Work.
Helen holds a Masters of Social Work from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Montclair State University. She is also a graduate of the New Jersey Child Abuse Institute and completed the Finding Words NJ program, a child-friendly forensic interviewing protocol for professionals involved in investigating and prosecuting child abuse.
Helen’s love and passion for her life’s work in social justice is only topped by her love for her family. She is married to a professional musician in the Blues genre, and is the mother of seven-year-old twins, Julia and Steven.
Gretchen Lolis comes from a long line of incredible and ground-breaking realtors. Raised by a mom who founded her own real estate company, Gretchen brings warmth, excitement, and ease to her clients and their families as they travel through the buying and selling process. Gretchen knows firsthand what it takes to create long-term, trusting relationships. During her 25-year career in national sales, Gretchen has seen, lived through, and learned from every market move, dip, growth spurt, and bubble. As a resident of Tenafly for many years, Gretchen has also cultivated deep and lasting connections with the local community. Gretchen brings her extensive expertise in sales, relationship-building, and supporting families and the community to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in May 2017. LinkedIn
Hollis Thomas is an apparel executive with close to 20 years of experience in buying and wholesale sales. Now with Hanesbrands, Hollis specializes in business planning, execution, and relationship-building. At one time a stay-at-home mother with a daughter, Hollis believes that the support of family is as fundamental to the future of female leadership as advancement in the workplace, and aspires to remind women just how amazing we all are. Superwomen indeed! Hollis is a creative self-starter who brings her passion for the development of strong, independent, confident girls and women to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in May 2017. Hollis is also a member of Mocha Moms Inc. of Bergen County; an active member of the NYC and northern NJ community; and a wife, mother, sister, and friend. LinkedIn
Erika Monell is an Information Technology professional with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry in a variety of roles including Application and Systems Engineer, Senior Information Security Analyst, and Business Relationship Manager. Throughout her professional journey, Erika’s passion for people has remained consistent from implementing software that makes tough tasks easier and creates process efficiencies to coaching co-workers and friends through difficult situations to volunteering for the many causes that have inspired her. With every opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others, Erika’s commitment to teaching and coaching has grown deeper, leading to her certification as a Professional Coach and and the launch of her own coaching business. From Distraction to Destiny Coaching, LLC focuses on empowering women to walk in their purpose and elevate themselves to new heights. Erika holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Syracuse University. Erika brings her expertise in systems design and process improvement as well as her passion for empowering women and improving lives to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in May 2018. LinkedIn
Jemi Lucey is a trial attorney with Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith, & Davis who concentrates her practice on employment, higher education, and professional negligence law. She represents private and public entities and institutions of higher learning in employment discrimination and retaliation actions, professional negligence matters, Title IX claims, and business disputes. She also lectures and consults on human resources law and guides employers through the practical implications of various state and federal laws affecting employers. Jemi serves on the Steering Committee for the firm’s Women’s Leadership Forum, is President-Elect of New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, and has been recognized for her work with awards such as Professional Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association. Jemi joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in 2016. LinkedIn
Heather Corey is a treasury professional with over 20 years’ experience. She currently is the Treasury Manager for Ridgewood Energy Corporation & Ridgewood Infrastructure where she manages the Treasury and Accounts Payable Departments. She holds a BA degree in Business Administration from Lincoln University. Heather’s passion to be visible in her daughter’s education has led her to take PTA executive board positions at her daughter’s elementary and middle schools. These positions have fostered her desire to ensure that all our daughters are provided the same opportunities as their male counterparts and to help them continue to shatter glass ceilings. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, the first Greek-lettered sorority founded in 1908 by African-American college educated woman. She is also a member of Mocha Moms Inc. of Bergen County NJ where she has served as Treasurer. Heather joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in June 2021.
Donnalee Corrieri is the Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations at New Jersey’s largest hospital, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, where her job responsibilities include employee relations, public/media relations, Foundation liaison, marketing, advertising, crisis communications, and most recently, diversity and inclusion. She was selected to give the 2019 Bergen County Pride Ceremony keynote speech and is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She is a board member for New Jersey Friendship House and sits on the Paramus Stigma Free Initiative committee. Donnalee joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in November 2019. LinkedIn
As Senior Vice President of Marketing at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A, Kay Du Fernandez leads the creation of innovative marketing strategies throughout the entire customer journey, building the awareness of the Konica Minolta brand ultimately to enhance the customer relationship. Kay is a key advocate for women’s empowerment efforts, and in 2015, established the Step Forward Program to inspire women in professional advancement and encourage conversations needed to move Konica Minolta forward and enrich its most valuable asset: its people. As a working mother of three daughters, Kay is especially committed to encouraging women to pursue their ambitions. Kay sits on the Board of Directors for the Books for Kids Foundation and the Orange County Ballet Theater. She is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and earned her MBA at Pepperdine University. Kay joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in December 2019. LinkedIn
Martha is a lifetime fashion professional who is passionate about empowering women with style. As President of Style Venture Inc, she has represented Worth Limited in New York and New Jersey since 2008. She has been helping to build the Peach Athleisure brand since 2014. Martha is the married mother of two. In addition to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in November 2017, Martha is a working board member of Social Service Association of Ridgewood and Vicinity. LinkedIn
Marci Hopkins is an award-winning TV personality, host, and motivational speaker. The creator and host of Wake Up with Marci (CBS WLNY 10/55 6am Saturdays), Marci is a fearless new voice in television who tackles a wide range of issues on her show, including mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, addiction, trauma, weight loss, sexual abuse, wellness, and more. Over a cup of coffee, she has candid conversations with her guests. Marci’s mission is simple: to inspire and empower her audience while spreading hope and happiness. When she is not hosting her show, this mother of two devotes much of her time to giving back to her community and public speaking. She is also co-founder of Dragonfly Productions, a full video content studio in Fairfield, NJ. Marci joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in January 2020. LinkedIn
Shonya Jordan is a Certified Professional Coach/Energy Leadership Master Practitioner who works with clients to create transformation in their lives. Shonya has also had nearly a 20-year career at Suez where she is currently Senior Clerk, Revenue Integrity Department. Shonya is a graduate of the Bergen Leads Leadership Program, Secretary for the SUEZ Women’s Leadership Network (WLN), and coordinator of the SUEZ WLN Book of the Month initiative leading motivational, inspirational, and career advancement discussions. Shonya brings her expertise in sound business practices and fostering positive change to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in May 2018. LinkedIn
Patches Magarro has nearly 20 years of experience in the political, health, and corporate sectors. Her political involvement spans work on a Congressional staff, serving as Treasurer for a presidential campaign, and founding a Coalition that collectively knocked on 40,000 doors for mid-term elections. She focused her policy work on public health while a fellow at Columbia University, and also as a strategist and content-creator for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign in Newark, NJ. One of the most gratifying experiences of her career was on the organizing team for the Newark Peace Education Summit which included the opportunity to meet several Nobel Peace Prize winners including his holiness the Dalai Lama. Patches attended Rutgers University earning a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and a Master’s degree in Communication, and was a postgraduate fellow at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Patches joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in June 2021
Robin Morsch is a Real Estate Professional at Keller Williams Village Square Realty and owner of The Girls With The Pearl Earrings. She is a board member of the Social Service Association of Ridgewood & Vicinity and a Mom to Mom volunteer for Rafael Life House/Covenant House. Robin holds a BS in Marketing/Management and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Montclair State University. Robin joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in December 2019. LinkedIn
O’kneeka Roberts, Professional Sales Account Manager at the OraPharma Pharmaceuticals division of Valeant Incorporated, is an award-winning leader with over 10 years of pharmaceutical and publishing sales experience. She is a change agent with a broad knowledge base who builds effective teams, manages complexity, and delivers strategic and financial results. O’kneeka is a veteran who served four years as a Marine Safety Officer with the US Coast Guard. She is also a proud Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, a Greek-lettered sorority established in 1913 by African-American college women. O’kneeka, a Ridgewood resident, brings her gift for creative problem-solving and commitment to improving lives to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in May 2017. LinkedIn
Dr. Christine Thorpe is the Dean of the Nathan Weiss Graduate College at Kean University where her focus is on women’s health and wellness, health disparities, holistic nutrition, and health literacy. She is the author of The Family That Eats Together: A Nutritional Guide for Healthy Living and Living Beyond the Façade, which explores the health practices and retirement planning decisions of Americans of African descent. Christine is the founder and co-director of Stronger Tomorrow Wellness, a nonprofit that aims to inspire multicultural women across the lifespan to engage in healthy lifestyles and end health disparities in our communities. She is a certified wellness coach and health education specialist as well as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Mocha Moms. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Syracuse University, a Master of Education degree in international educational development, and a doctorate in health education from Teachers College Columbia University. Christine joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in November 2019. LinkedIn
Christina Tso Metz is Head of Internal Communications at BNY Mellon. In this role she is leading an internal communications strategy, including driving a campaign approach in support of business objectives. Christina is an active volunteer for the Girl Scouts of America. Prior to joining BNY Mellon, Christina was an an Associate Director of Corporate Communications at KPMG and Assistant Vice President of Global Communications at MetLife. Christina holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing and management from the Stern School of Business at NYU, and a BA in English literature and economics from Smith College. Christina brings her expertise in strategic communications, marketing, public relations, and women’s leadership development to the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors, which she joined in June 2018. LinkedIn
Katie Wertheimer serves as Chief of Staff to Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle in New Jersey’s 37th Legislative District after serving as Director of Communications and Constituent Relations. Katie also leads the Assemblywoman’s Young Women’s Leadership Program, a mentorship program for young women in high school to learn key skills in leadership development and government affairs. Katie previously served as a Public Affairs Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. She holds a B.A. in History from The College of New Jersey where she concentrated her studies in gender and earned minors in Sociology and Russian Studies. Katie joined the YWCA Northern New Jersey Board of Directors in November 2019. LinkedIn
YWCA Northern New Jersey Board Committees are typically chaired by a Board member and consist of Board members, staff, and interested volunteers from the community. These committees are accountable to the Board and help to research and develop policy and recommend major policies/initiatives to the Board for approval as appropriate. Current committees include Board Development, Finance, Fund Development, Communications and Mission Based Programs. Committees meet monthly or quarterly depending on their agendas.
Interested in volunteering to serve on a YWCA Board Committee? Contact Helen Archontou at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.