EWNJ honors the 2022 Trailblazing Policy Makers at 40th anniversary Salute to the Policy Makers Gala.

On May 3, 2022 Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) honored the contributions of New Jersey’s most influential and accomplished women leaders at its signature biennial gala, Salute to the Policy Makers. This year’s gala is special because it is in commemoration of the organization’s 40 year anniversary. 

“This year, our list of high achieving women leaders is especially meaningful, after the pandemic has had such a devastating impact on women in the workplace. In December, women accounted for the entire number of job losses to the US economy at a total of 156,000 jobs lost, while men gained 16,000 jobs,” said Anna María Tejada, President of EWNJ and Partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP. 

EWNJ, Anna María Tejada
Anna María Tejada, President of EWNJ, speaking at the Salute to the Policy Makers Gala. (Photo courtesy of Anna María Tejada)

“Despite their expertise, talents, and the quantifiable benefits that they bring to an organization, women are often in the most vulnerable positions when economic turbulence strikes. It is crucial that the New Jersey business community recognizes the measurable value that women deliver and create more policies to ensure equity and inclusion in the workplace. As consistently documented in EWNJ’s ‘A Seat at the Table’ report, gender and racial diversity not only generates stronger financial performance for organizations but also fewer governance-related issues such as bribery, corruption, shareholder battles, and fraud.”

Salute to the Policy Makers funds EWNJ’s various programs and initiatives aimed at advancing women’s leadership. Most notably, it benefits the organization’s Graduate Merit Award Program, which provides scholarships to women who are non-traditional graduate students with the goal of establishing a pipeline of future women leaders.

As a daughter of Dominican immigrants and first generation attorney, EWNJ President, Anna María Tejada knows first-hand how important programs like these can be. She herself benefitted from various affirmative action programs in her education such as Headstart, EOF, and the Rutgers MSP Program, as well as mentorship from organizations such as the  Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ) and the Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ).

Now, with over 20 years of experience in her industry, Anna María is passionate about giving back and aiding other young Latinas in their careers. 

“It is important for students of color, especially young women, to see successful Latina professionals, so they too can achieve their dreams,” said Anna María. 

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Anna María Tejada with Adrienne D. Gonzalez at the Salute to the Policy Makers Gala. (Photo courtesy of Anna María Tejada)

Anna María says it’s important to elevate those coming up behind you too by paying forward the help you received. 

“This will help strengthen the professional pipeline for women, especially women of color. As Latinas, we often feel we can handle things on our own and we certainly can; however, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.”

She advises women to seek mentors who look like you, and also mentors who do not look like you but are willing to serve as a resource. “Seek out organizations that could elevate you and put you in touch with people who could be critical for your professional development.” 

You might be interested: “We don’t need to do it alone” says SBA’s Bibi Hidalgo, to aspiring Latina entrepreneurs 

About EWNJ

EWNJ’s mission is to ensure that women have equal opportunities and representation in senior corporate leadership. As the largest provider of scholarships to women who are non-traditional graduate students in New Jersey, EWNJ has provided tuition assistance to nearly 350 women graduate students at New Jersey colleges and universities over the last 30+ years. 

Through our mentor program and their Graduate Merit Award Program, they seek to establish a pipeline for future women leaders to excel and flourish in corporate spaces. 

In support of their mission, they publish a biennial report on the number of women on boards and in the senior governance of publicly traded companies in New Jersey. This report is the only one of its kind in the state. EWNJ also hosts events to build connections and amplify their work. To learn more about EWNJ, visit www.ewnj.org.


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Author

  • Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. She holds an Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, and a Bachelor's in English Literature from Montclair State University.

By Victoria Arena

Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. She holds an Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, and a Bachelor's in English Literature from Montclair State University.

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