Women of Wonder

Women of Wonder Celebration

The Women of Wonder League℠ recognizes influential women in Cape May County for their outstanding and selfless dedication to helping others reach their full potential.

wow logo

November 10, 2021 at 11:30 AM
The Flanders Hotel
719 E. 11th Street
Ocean City, NJ 08226

Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation and Cape May County Women’s Commission are proud to honor the 2021 Women of Wonder recipients.

women of wonder

doris doie barnes saluting the flagPlease join us to celebrate the accomplishments of these three extraordinary women at the luncheon fundraiser being held in their honor. We will also pay tribute to Retired Marine Corps Sergeant Doris “Doie” Barnes with a special Veterans Salute.  

This event is sold out. Thank you to all our sponsors & attendees.

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit at-risk high school students by providing support and tuition assistance to attend Atlantic Cape Community College so they may transform their lives.

Honorees

Michele Gillian is the executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce with over 500 members, overseeing the Ocean City Welcome Centers, the production of the Official Ocean City Visitors Guide and the tourism website OceanCityVacation.com. 

Through her leadership, Ocean City has stayed in the forefront of technological advances and improved communication of pertinent information to residents and visitors.
Gillian is a tireless volunteer who has been active in the HERO Campaign, served as director of First Night Ocean City, and is a member of the Night in Venice committee and the Ocean City Pops Board of Trustees. 

Gillian holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Notre Dame. She resides with her husband, Jay, and children in Ocean City.

Chase Jackson is an arts administrator and a community arts activist, currently serving as the executive director of the Ocean City Arts Center. Jackson has more than 30 years in nonprofit management. During her time in Cape May County, she has produced numerous plays, story and poetry slams, as well as volunteered with several local nonprofits.

A self-described aquaphile, Jackson is originally from Norfolk, Virginia and prides herself in the fact that she has always lived near a large body of water. Sailing is one of her passions and, while semi-retired, she volunteered as a crew member on New Jersey’s Tall Ship, the Schooner AJ Meerwald out of Port Norris.  A few years later, she began working for the Bayshore Center at Bivalve, Meerwald's home port, saving money for a bare boat sailing cruise in the French Polynesian Islands. Although she made that trip seven years ago, Jackson just left the position of program and grants manager for the organization in June 2021.

Since 2014, Marilyn Miller has served as the director of Middle Township’s Samuel S. De Vico Senior Center, where she coordinates activities and events for 200 members. Members of the Senior Center Advisory Board have described Miller as “the best thing to happen to seniors” in Middle Township. 

Miller grew up in Cape May  and has lived in Middle Township since 2003. In her role, Miller has promoted wellness at the Senior Center and coordinates exercise classes and blood pressure screenings. Miller also volunteers with the nonprofit group CONTACT Cape-Atlantic. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Miller arranged regular telephone calls to seniors, held socially distanced classes in the facility’s parking lot, and helped seniors make COVID vaccine appointments. 

Miller was presented with the Middle Township “Middle Matters” Award in March 2021 for her efforts.

Doris “Doie” Barnes celebrated her one hundredth birthday on July 30. A former U.S. Marine, Barnes enlisted at the age of 22 and was stationed at the Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina until her discharge in 1945, earning the rank of sergeant. 

Barnes’ dream was to repair aircrafts, but she never had the opportunity. During her tour of duty, Barnes worked alone in a vault in Aviation Assembly and Repair where she managed and distributed secret and confidential technical documents for the officers. When transporting the files, Barnes carried documents in a briefcase that was handcuffed to her.  

Barnes resides in Ocean City  and is a member of several organizations including Morvay-Miley-Cruice American Legion Post 524, Ferguson-Foglio American Legion Post 6650 and the Fleet Reserve Association in Mays Landing.

Previously Honored Women of Wonder

2019 Women of Wonder

Stormy Freese, Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control

Stormy Freese is the Microbiologist at the Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control where she oversees the Biosafety Level – 3 laboratory and tests mosquito collections for arboviruses. Stormy graduated from Stockton University in May 2014 and plans to pursue her master’s degree in the next few years.

Ms. Freese began her career as a seasonal laboratory assistant at the Mosquito Control in May 2014 and became a full-time employee in January 2015.  Since Stormy’s full-time career began, she has been actively involved with promoting STEM careers. She organized a Super Mosquito Scientist class for the Girl Scouts, attended several career and STEM days at Dennis and Lower Township schools, and more recently assisted two young ladies with their Girl Scout Silver Award project. 

Stormy is also actively involved with the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association (NJMCA) where she is currently serving as Secretary and participates on several committees. In 2019, she created and became the Chair of the Young Professionals Committee for NJMCA to help get new professionals more involved with the organization. She also currently serves as the Chair for the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) Young Professionals Group and organized AMCA’s Education Day in Orlando, Florida in 2018.

Karen Mahar, Ocean City Free Public Library

Karen Mahar is well known in Ocean City as a dedicated community leader and involved supporter of many local organizations.  As the Library Director of the Ocean City Free Public Library, Ms. Mahar has been instrumental in maintaining key partnerships with the City of Ocean City, the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Ocean City School District, Atlantic Cape Community College, and a variety of local businesses. 

Karen attended Villanova University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 1986 and two years later, a Master of Science in Library Science.  Karen’s long tenure of devoted service at the Ocean City Free Public Library dates back to 1989, first serving as a library page.  Over the years, Karen climbed the career ladder and served as the library director from 1993-2004.  She returned to the library in 2012 as a senior librarian and was named library director again in 2015, where she hires, trains, and supervises a library staff of over 45 employees.

Karen’s countless community-based endeavors include serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Literacy Volunteers of America, Cape-Atlantic, Inc., member of the Board of Directors of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trustees member for the Friends of the Ocean City Pops, and former director of the Miss New Jersey Parade from 2014-2018.  In 2017, Karen was presented with the “Working Woman of the Year” award by the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Shirley “Becki” Wilson, Delaware River and Bay Authority Commission

Long-time Cape May County resident, Shirley “Becki” Wilson, has served as a commissioner on the Delaware River and Bay Authority Commission since her appointment in 2012.  Before that, the Temple University graduate worked as a social worker with the Division of Youth and Family Services and for 27 years as a certified school social worker and Child Study Team case manager at her high school alma mater, Lower Cape May Regional High School, where she graduated as class valedictorian in 1964.  Additionally, Ms. Wilson has worked as a local realtor since 2011 and is a co-owner of The Creative Touch, a home staging company in Southern New Jersey.

Ms. Wilson is the president and founder of Everything Is Attitude, a New Jersey non-profit corporation that provides funding for character education programs.  Becki has served as an active member of many organizations including the Atlantic/Cape May Supreme Court Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro, Inc., NAACP, Cape May County Art League, and the Board of Directors for the Center for Community Arts in Cape May.

Ms. Wilson’s state and local appointments include the NJ State Supreme Court- District I Attorney Ethics Committee, Human Services Advisory Council for Cape May County and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission.

 Vicki Clark Head Shot - Atlantic Cape

Vicki T. Clark, IOM
President, Cape May County Chamber of Commerce

Vicki Clark is the President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held for the past 14 years.  Prior to that, she served as the Chamber’s Marketing and Membership Director for 13 years.  She oversees the daily business operations, advocacy positions, and membership programs with a staff of 4 year round and 2 seasonal employees. 

Clark holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from VA Tech in Marketing Management and is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management as well as both the classic Dale Carnegie Course and Dale Carnegie Sales Training.

She is President of the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association, serves on the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Board of the New Jersey Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (NJACCES), the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation Board, and served on the Lower Cape May Regional Board of Education for eleven years. 

In 2016 she became a founding member of the Business Alliance for the Protection of the Atlantic Coast and currently serves as the organizations first President.  In July 2018, Clark became a member of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Atlantic and Cape May Counties.

She and her husband Bruce have three married children and five grandchildren.

E. Marie Hayes

Biography

Freeholder Responsibilities: Board of Elections, County Clerk/Adjuster, Culture and Heritage, Fare Free Transportation, Library, Museum, Park/Zoo, Print Shop, Surrogate, Tax Board and Tourism & Public Information

Freeholder Liaison: Advisory Commission on the Status of Women, Chamber of Commerce, Culture and Heritage Commission, Jersey Shore Partnership, Library Commission, New Jersey Association of Counties - 1st Alternate, Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, Park Advisory Board, Tax Board, Member - Atlantic Cape School Board of Estimate, Member - Special Services School Board of Estimate and Member - Technical School Board of Estimate

Biography: E. Marie Hayes was sworn-in on February 1, 2013 to fill the unexpired term of M. Susan Sheppard, Esq. on the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Hayes was re-elected in November 2014 to her first three year term and will serve until December 31, 2016.

In late 1970's, Marie was hired by the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office as an Investigator. During the majority of her career, she was assigned to Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Investigations. She rose through the ranks being promoted to Sergeant of Detectives to Lieutenant of Detectives, retiring as Captain of Detectives in 2009.

Hayes received her Associate Degree from Atlantic Cape Community College, where until this year; she was an Adjunct Professor teaching Criminal Investigation. Hayes received a Bachelor Degree in Human Services, with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Thomas Edison State College and is a 1996 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Hayes resides in Ocean City with Lloyd, her husband of 32 years, and their son Lloyd. Also, she has two grown daughters, Megan and Danielle, a son-in-law Vince and six grandchildren.

 

The 2013 Woman of Wonder, Noel R. Hiers, is the director of School Based Youth Services at Cape May County Technical High School. Noel began to build this vibrant school program in 2006…from scratch. Now, Cape May Tech has a meaningful program with outstanding counseling services for all its students. The multi-focus program includes activities like field trips, student clubs and support groups like the diabetes support club and the GLBT club, among others.

The school based youth services program has become one of the most highly valued, highly utilized programs of the school. In others words, this super hero built a world of good from literally nothing.

Some of the outcomes from this super hero's unsung work have been building tolerance for all, creating a sense of community for the diverse group of students attending tech, and a safe haven for students when they are at their most vulnerable moments.

Noel Hiers

Noel Hiers, Director, School Based Youth Services at Cape May Tech High School.

Whether it is at noon on a school day or midnight on a weekend - Martina Singleton is there when you need her! Martina is employed by the Coalition Against Rape and Abuse - CARA - as the Sexual Assault Program Director. But that is just her cover story for her life of heroic actions. She has not only risen up from her own personal history of abuse, she helps to raise our children up out of their situations of abuse and helps them learn to cope with the life altering consequences of violence. For her support, love and work with the COMPACT students, Martina takes her place in the WOW Hall of Fame.

Atlantic Cape WOW EVENT 10-26-11

Tracey Staab, principal COMPACT, Martina Singleton, recipient, and Amanda Paris, former COMPACT student.

 

Myra Belasco, Counselor, Lower Cape May Regional School District exemplifies an unsung super-hero among us who quietly and without much fan fare is making a huge difference in the lives of our at-risk children. Myra works closely with Cape Educational COMPACT to recommend and support students from her high school to the program. According to her nominator, she consistently goes above and beyond in supporting her COMPACT students. Myra's dedication earned her a place in the WOW Hall of Fame.

WOW Event

Vicki Clark, Foundation VP, Diane McKoy, Foundation President, Myra Belasco, recipient, Tracey Staab, COMPACT, Freeholder Sue Sheppard, Dr. Pat Gentile

For additional information about Women of Wonder, please contact Maria Kellett at mkellett@atlantic.edu or (609) 463-3670.