Courier Post
May 18, 2011

Ex-governor keynotes leadership summit.

UNION (HUNTERDON) — New Jersey’s first woman governor told a conference of county businesswomen that to get more women in leadership positions, they needed to get more involved in their world.

Former Gov. Christie Whitman, a resident of Tewksbury, gave the keynote address Tuesday to about 80 attendees at the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Women’s Leadership Summit at the Grand Colonial in the Perryville section of the township. The theme was “Transitions and Transformations.”

“Being in the company of such accomplished women gives me a good feeling of what’s going on in the world,” Whitman said.

The summit, the culmination of the chamber’s breakfast series for women in business, also featured interactive discussions to encourage women to grow personally and professionally.

Whitman said that one of the biggest obstacles to advancement is that women are not nearly as willing as men to take on new challenges, and that they worry if they do not know enough to do the job.

“We can learn on the job as well as the men can, and we have to be willing to take that chance,” Whitman said.

The former Somerset County freeholder said that she took a chance in her 1990 campaign for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Bill Bradley. She lost that election, but it put her in position to win in 1993 against then-Gov. James Florio to become New Jersey’s first woman governor.

Whitman was appointed in January 2001 as administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. She resigned in May 2003. Since 2004, Whitman has headed the Whitman Strategy Group lobbying and consulting firm and, since 2006, has consulted for the Nuclear Energy Institute. In January 2008, Whitman was named co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Health Stewardship Project.

Other speakers at the conference included certified professional organizer Diane Albright of All Bright Ideas, Diane Turton, owner of Diane Turton, Realtors, consultant and personal coach Sandra Lotz Fisher and Ellen Nardoni, customer relations manager for Flemington Car and Truck County.