Since 1991, Leadership Morris has showcased Morris County’s non-profit community to classes of future leaders who have taken the opportunity to learn about Morris County, its non-profits, the local and state government and explore how they might be able to give back to communities in which they live and work.
Although the program began in 1991, since 2005, Leadership Morris has been under the direction of Dr. Joseph Nazzaro. Leadership Morris is a community education program of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. Along with co-program administrator, Laura Cust, they have witnessed nearly 1000 alumni morph into servant leaders and community volunteers. “It has been very rewarding to see some of our graduates serve on non-profit boards and even build careers in government. I am proud to have been able to facilitate a program that helps build our non-profit community” said Nazzaro in a recent interview.
Class participants come from an array of professional backgrounds, including sole proprietors and entrepreneurs, mid-level managers, healthcare practitioners and professionals such as attorneys, communications experts and nonprofit executives. “Our goal,” explains Nazzaro, “is to expose students to our community so they can see the more intricate aspects of what makes our county run.” Each one-day session of the eleven-month program features a field trip. Economic Development Day features a trip to Picatinny Arsenal (the largest employer in the county). Criminal Justice Day is a trip to the County Jail and County Courthouse with meetings with the County Sheriff and Prosecutor. In addition to learning about Morris County, one of the class excursions (for State Government Day) is to Trenton, where students tour our State Capital, meet and hear from a member of the Assembly and President of the New Jersey State Chamber.
Media Relations/County Government Day involves a visit to JCP&L’s corporate communications department and interacting with a panel of communications and media experts as well as a visit from County Freeholders. Healthcare Day is an exciting trip to both Saint Clare’s and Morristown Medical Center. Human Needs and Services Day focuses on the nonprofit community and affordable housing with interesting visits to both. Environment Day features hiking at either the Great Swamp or Pyramid Mountain culminating with a visit to Fosterfields Living Historical Farm for an environmental presentation.
A graduate of the 2016 class, Deborah Gussoff, President of In Order, Inc. said, “Leadership Morris is a unique opportunity to learn about the wide range of non-profit services the county offers. I learned about homelessness in Morris County and how the community helps those in need.” Sandy Stiles of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern NJ said, “I thought I knew about of most of the non-profits in our area, but the diverse range of venues we visited was enlightening.” Anthony Abrantes, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Local 254 said, “I loved this program and feel very privileged to have taken it. The exposure to such a variety of organizations helped me grow both personally and professionally.”
Nazzaro explains, “While Morris County offers a bucolic environment with more than forty public parks and nature trails, we see families who, from time to time need housing or nutritional support.” Typically, individuals who find themselves in situations they could never imagine, don’t know where to turn for help. Nazzaro explains, “We live in a compassionate community where services are available to help those in need. Leadership Morris exposes students to the variety of services offered and our hope is that they will find a program that ‘speaks to them’.” The program also features team building, community service projects, and “board reports” from each class member after interviewing a Non-profit executive. Following graduation, there is an optional active Alumni Association.
The 2019 class of Leadership Morris will graduate in November and applications are now being taken for the 2020 class. To apply for the next Leadership Morris class, complete the application on the Chamber of Commerce’s website or contact Laura Cust at 973-539-3882 x232 or Laura@morrischamber.org.
By Naoma Welk, Welk Ink, Leadership Morris Alumni Council Member
Media Contact: Joe Nazzaro, 973-476-8731, firstname.lastname@example.org
When I meet with members about how the chamber can help grow their business, the topics of talent and human resources are at the top of the list. Accordingly, I am proud to announce we kicked off our new Human Resource and Talent Committee this spring, led by co-chairs Christy Harper, president of Launchpad Talent Group, and Michael A. Shadiack, Esq. of Connell Foley LLP. Christy has extensive background in talent recruitment, on-boarding and retention and brings many years of experience helping businesses succeed through the identiﬁcation of top talent and effective programs to develop employees. Michael is a partner in and serves as chair of the employment law practice group at Connell Foley. He has extensive experience providing employment law compliance counseling to businesses of all sizes, conducts practical training programs and drafts employee handbooks, all with a perspective gained from defending businesses in litigation during the last two decades.
The committee is collaboration between the chamber and the Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), a division of the chamber. The mission of the committee is to provide members with the opportunity to discuss timely topics related to talent. It also provides the opportunity to plan and present at forums and seminars that provide valuable information to members and the business community about best practices in human resources, up-to-date information regarding laws and regulations, and strategies for attracting, on-boarding and retaining talent.
While the committee will comprise primarily individuals who have primary responsibility for hiring, ﬁring, providing day-to-day direction to employees and are responsible to address any employee conﬂict or inquiries by government agencies, any chamber member that is interested in human resources as it applies to their business is welcome to attend.
It is clear that that Morris County will only remain a “top 10” county and continue to grow if we can successfully attract, retain and develop talent. We encourage all members who are involved with hiring decisions or interested in learning more about how labor regulations affect their business to attend the committee, which meets on the second Tuesday of every month from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the chamber ofﬁces. If you are interested in learning more or being a presenter, please e-mail Michael Shadiack at MShadiack@connellfoley.com
I am excited to announce that the MCEDC also is investing in a new database, Hometown Opportunities, to provide improved connectivity between employers and prospective employees that will be developed this year. Employers will be able to list local job opportunities and residents, students and volunteers will be able to ﬁnd opportunities in their hometown or within Morris County. You will realize the beneﬁt of this resource by having a tool to attract talent in a competitive labor market through your business proﬁle.
Michael Stanzilis has been serving as the new vice president of membership engagement and business development at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce since April 1, where he is responsible for membership sales, retention and overall member experience, including creating, developing and overseeing a membership strategy for chamber growth. “I am thoroughly enjoying this new position,” he said. “What has impressed me is the passion of our members. They are all dedicated to growing their businesses. And willing to help each other. It’s amazing. “I am getting to know as many members as I can and finding out how I can help them make connections.” Mike has a strong track record of success. Most recently he was general manager at security services entity G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc., where he led the company’s Northeast Region in bottom-line growth for
two consecutive years and advanced the New Jersey portfolio from the third-largest in the region to the largest. Prior to G4S, Mike worked for Securitas Security Services USA, New York Life and Harrison Securities. Mike also serves as the mayor of Mount Arlington. He said his business background and government experience position him well to support chambers members.
“The chamber is the perfect intersection of my business and government experience and my passion for economic growth,” he said. “In addition, in my previous position I was a chamber member so I understand the perspectives and needs of businesses.” Mike’s goal for the member experience side of his job focuses on ensuring members get the most out of their membership, he said.
“I want to really define the value proposition of the three business sectors within our chamber – small, medium and large businesses – and ensure our activities are in line with those value propositions so they maximize the benefits of their membership. “I also want to show prospective members the benefits of membership, including the opportunities to network with other businesses of all sizes and interact with government officials, as well as education and training.”
Mike is an active volunteer in Morris County, including with the Morris County League of Municipalities as an executive board member and Habitat for Humanity, Morris County, as a past board member. He attended Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts and holds a certificate of security management from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Mike and his wife, Laura, and son, Mike, Jr., live in Mount Arlington. When he is not working or tending to township business, he is an assistant scout master for his son’s Boy Scout troop and loves skiing and camping.
Please Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.
Morris County Chamber of Commerce
325 Columbia Turnpike - Suite 101
Florham Park, NJ 07932 (MAP)
Our Mission: The Morris County Chamber of Commerce collaboratively advances the interests of its members to champion a thriving business and community environment.
Our Vision: Creating member experiences that foster exceptional business success and quality of life.