Save Jersey’s Right Women to Watch in 2023

This year’s 6th annual list recognizes non-elected women across the State of New Jersey who are leading to “Save Jersey”. From Republicans and conservatives to independents and free market advocates, all are fierce changemakers improving their communities.

Carey Italiano

1. Nora Ashman was a key player in the big campaign victories in Washington Township this year.

2. Alexis Bailey, promoted to Vice President of Government Affairs at the New Jersey Business Industry Association in 2022, is a thought leader for childcare reform as the state faces post-pandemic challenges.

3. Rosemary Becchi, Founder and President of Jersey 1 st , leads a grassroots organization of activists championing a freer and more affordable state. By day, she is a Strategic Advisor and Counsel at Brownstein.

4. Gabrielle Bekisz is the new Finance Director for Congressman Jeff Van Drew as of January 1st.

5. Brittany Bewalder is the Publicity Officer for the Randolph Republican Club, leading their social media and online presence.

6. Ariana Brown was a Regional Field Director for the New Jersey Republican State Committee, managing the ground game for Billy Prempeh for Congress.

Alexis Bailey

7. Heather Cascone, the Assistant Vice President for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, oversees the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions. She is a veteran of the New Jersey State House and a champion for health care reform.

8. Katie Castellano starts a new chapter in Boston after a successful cycle of campaign fundraising.

9. Marcela Barrezueta-Crossman serves as a Board Member for Jersey 1 st , an organization with the mission of being a voice for the hard-working people of New Jersey. 

10. Melanie Collette is the Director of Community Engagement for LD-1 and radio show host of Money Talk with Melanie. She also serves as Cape GOP Vice Chair.

11. Maggie Cucci serves as the Somerset County Republican Organization’s Executive Director and a Vice President at the Biscayne Group.

Samantha DeAlmeida

12. Nicole Davidman is a heavy-hitter campaign fundraiser for Senator Polistina, Assemblyman Guardian, and Assemblywoman Swift. She brings more than a decade of experience planning events and raising dollars for big-name candidates.

13. Alyssa Dawson is Chief of Staff to Senator Holly Schepisi and on the radar for a future run for elected office.

14. Samantha DeAlmeida serves as President and CEO of the New Jersey Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, fighting for worker freedom for over 1,100 members in-state.

15. Rachell Diaz is active in Cape May County politics and a digital marketing expert.

16. Serena DiMaso, former Assemblywoman and Immediate Past Chair for the National Foundation for Women Legislators, is a favorite for encouraging other women in politics and standing up for her values. She also serves as Chair of the Bayshore Hospital Foundation.

17. Kristen Doran was a Field Organizer for the New Jersey State Republican Committee, supporting Congressman-Elect Tom Kean’s successful campaign.

18. Regina Egea leads Garden State Initiative, a think tank exposing the underlying financial issues of New Jersey state government. You can find her discussing solutions for improving the business and tax climate.

Elizabeth Nader

19. Elyssa Giordano is the Senior Manager of Special Projects and Events at the State Policy Network, the nation’s association of free market think tanks. She helps lead their LaunchPad events, where social entrepreneurs compete for seed funding.

20. Denise Gonzalez leads Latino outreach for the New Jersey State Republican Committee.

21. Laura Gunn started a new leadership role as Vice President at Katz Government Affairs, LLC, after spending four years at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. 

22. Jeanette Hoffman, President of Marathon Public Affairs, is a communications pro and regular guest on My9’s New Jersey Now.

23. Madi Holmes serves as the Finance and Events Director for the New Jersey State Republican Committee.

24. Kathleen Hugin, a Founding Board Member of Women for a Stronger New Jersey, brings an extensive resume to work on national health care and education issues.

Reina Smrdelj

25. Carey Italiano is the Secretary for the Salem County GOP and Vice President of Business Development at Trusted Land Transfer, LLC.

26. Kim Kavin tirelessly advocates for female entrepreneurs building their businesses. With the threat of the PRO Act in Congress and NJ DOL attacking the livelihoods of independent contractors, Kavin has mobilized freelancers across the state and country.

27. Frayda Levin is a Board Member for the Garden State Initiative and a veteran of national issue advocacy campaigns. She is also on the boards of Club for Growth and the American Independent Media Foundation, as well as a past Board Chair of Americans for Prosperity and founder of the New Jersey state chapter.

28. Lisa LoBiondo managed Paul DeGroot’s congressional campaign, leading an upset in the primary election.

29. Megan Moench leads Dream Tree Consulting, as a staple fundraiser in Somerset County Republican politics.

Alex Wilkes

30. Elizabeth Nader co-founded First Day PR this year and remains deeply involved with organizations advocating for change in the Garden State – including Jersey 1 st , A Seat at the Table, and the Common Sense Club.

31. Laura Overdeck is a Founding Board Member of Women for a Stronger New Jersey, as well as Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation and Founder and President of Bedtime Math.

32. Michelle Purdy serves as the Republican Club President for Galloway, the second largest town in the county.

33. Addison Reily was a Regional Field Director for the New Jersey State Republican Committee.

34. Jess Rohr managed Congressman Chris Smith’s successful re-election campaign and army of volunteers.

35. Stacy Schuster is the founding Executive Director of Women for a Stronger New Jersey and a trusted political strategist. You can find her behind-the-scenes of many successful campaigns up and down the state.

Jeanette Hoffman

36. Reina Smrdelj is a Legislative Analyst for the New Jersey Assembly Republicans and thought leader in pushing back against Governor Murphy’s failed policies. You can find her hosting the caucus’s YouTube video and social media series.

37. Marie Tasy is Executive Director of New Jersey Right to Life and in a year with abortion in the national discourse, she is unafraid to lead the group in a battleground.

38. Ashley Todd, Vice President at the Biscayne Group, also serves as Assistant Borough Clerk and Board Health Administrator for Mount Arlington. 

39. Sydney Ugalde founded the Biscayne Group, the only all-female consulting firm under 30, supporting municipal campaigns.

Melanie Collette

40. Luz Vasquez is expected to emerge as a potential candidate in Cumberland County.

41. Theresa Velardi managed Bob Healey Jr.’s run for Congress in the third district and is on the radar for leading future Monmouth campaigns.

42. Brittany Wheeler is the new Vice President and Director of Government Affairs at the New Jersey Bankers Association, after serving as Executive Director for Fixing New Jersey and a trusted aide to Jack Ciattarelli.

43. Theresa Winegar serves as a Regional Political Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Rachell Diaz

44. Alex Wilkes is the Communications Director for NJGOP and commentator for the New Jersey Globe’s weekly “Stopping Grounds” series. 

45. Danielle Zanzaleri, an Assistant Professor of Economics, is an expert in energy policy and led the Garden State Initiative’s report, “More Bang for Our Buck: Revisiting the Garden State’s Clean Energy Subsidies”. 


Honorary Elected Official Mentions:

1. Assemblywoman Aura Dunn
2. Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer
3. Assemblywoman Bethanne McCarthy Patrick
4. Assemblywoman Claire Swift
5. Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio
6. Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove

Laura Gunn

7. Assemblywoman Kim Eulner
8. Assemblywoman Marilyn Piperno

9. Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis
10. Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz
11. Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn
12. Manchester Councilwoman-Elect Roxy Conniff
13. Mendham Township Committeewoman Sarah Neibert and Mayor Emeritus
14. Mountainside Councilwoman Deanna Andre and Northern New Jersey Member
Services Manager for ABC
15. Senator Holly Schepisi
16. Senator Jean Stanfield
17. Senator Kristin Corrado
18. Summit Councilwoman Lisa Allen and aide to Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz
19. Sussex County Commissioner Jill Space
20. Trenton Councilwoman-Elect Jennifer Williams
21. Warren County State Committeewoman Tia Steinhardt

The list is in alphabetical order to honor the accomplishments of all these powerful women. It was curated by Erica Jedynak with the recommendations from many around the state.

Erica Jedynak
About Erica Jedynak 29 Articles
ERICA JEDYNAK is the COO for yes. every kid., a leading national advocacy organization w⁠i⁠⁠t⁠h a fam⁠i⁠l⁠i⁠es-f⁠i⁠rs⁠t⁠ approach ⁠t⁠o ⁠t⁠ransform education, where she oversees public affairs and business operations. She lives in Morris County with her husband and son.