Women of Wonder

2022 Women of Wonder Award Luncheon

The Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation and the Cape May County Women's Commission honored three exceptional Women of Wonder at an annual luncheon fundraiser on Thursday, November 3, 2022 at The Flanders Hotel in Ocean City, and raised $12,100 for the Women of Wonder Scholarship Endowment to support students studying at Atlantic Cape! 

The 2022 Women of Wonder are: Lenora Boninfante Kodytek, public relations, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County; Bernadette Matthews Givens, owner, Cape Island Coastal Cleaning Service; and Joyce Gould, former Wildwood Crest mayor and commissioner. They were honored during the event for their professional accomplishments, dedication to their communities, and for their inspirational work through leadership and volunteerism. Learn more about the women below.

THANK YOU sponsors, event attendees, and the staff of The Flanders Hotel for an amazing event! Check out photos from there event here.

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For more information about the Women of Wonder Award and annual luncheon fundraiser, please contact Kristin Jackson at kjackson@atlantic.edu or (609) 463-3621.

Congratulations, 2022 Women of Wonder!

As a communications specialist in Cape May County and a county employee for over 21 years, Lenora Boninfante Kodytek has had the benefit of working in both the private and public sectors. With a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in public administration, Lenora has spent her life advocating for people with special needs, women, and non-profit organizations. In the private sector, as host and producer of a local interview program on cable television for 20 years, her mission was to promote and elevate individuals and organizations helping those less fortunate and working to improve the community. In the public sector, she has served as communications director for 14 years and as a public relations specialist for the last seven years. She continues to use her abilities to inform the public about programs and services that will enhance their quality of life. Her body of work through the years has earned her national, state, and local recognition.

Professionally, Lenora was involved in the New Jersey Association of Public Information Officials for 15 years and served as president of the organization for ten years. She was a member of the National Association of Public Information Officials, on the Board of Directors of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce and served as recording secretary for the Southern New Jersey Freeholders’ Association (SNJFA). She has the distinction of being awarded the “Southern Star” for distinguished service from SNJFA – at the time, one of only three non-elected officials to receive this honor in the history of the organization.

Lenora served on the Board of Education for the Cape May County Special Services School District from 1993 through 2018 and led the Board as President for eight years. She was a member of the Cape May County School Boards Association for over 25 years and served as both vice president and president of the Association. Additionally, she was a member of the Cape May County Advisory Commission to the Board of Chosen Freeholders (now Commissioners) on the Status of Women, served on the New Jersey School Board’s Special Education Committee, and the Southern New Jersey Regional Early Intervention Collaborative.

Active in the community, Lenora is on the Cape May County Special Services School District (CMCSSSD) Education Foundation, a trustee on the Cape Women’s Resource Fund, a member of the Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust Advisory Committee, a member of the Cape May County Technical School District Advisory Council, and on the Board of Directors of the ARC of Cape May County. Serving as a founding member and past president of the CMCSSSD Education Foundation, since 1995, she and the foundation have raised awareness and more than a million dollars for children with special needs in Cape May County. As a trustee on the Cape Women’s Resource Fund, she continues to raise funds to award scholarships to Cape May County women who are attending college.

Lenora Boninfante Kodytek resides in Upper Township, New Jersey with her husband, Jeff, of 40 years and two grown daughters, Kristine and Cynthia. She remains committed to the betterment of her community and her volunteer efforts.

Bernadette Matthews Givens moved to Cape May, NJ in 2005, to join the Cape May Jazz Festival as its Executive Director.  She later became the Executive Director of the Center for Community Arts, retiring from that position to manage Cape Island Coastal Cleaning Service, LLC, a residential and commercial cleaning company.  

Givens has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Temple University. She was part of the IBM President’s Class at Harvard University, identified as a "Who’s Who in America" and is a member of The International Society of Female Professionals. She worked in the computer field as a Computer Systems Engineer and Marketing Consultant for international accounts for many years with the IBM Corporation in Philadelphia.  She’s taught computer systems, traveling throughout the US and Canada and had her own Technical Recruiting firm in Philadelphia.

In her spare time, she is 1st Vice President of the Greater Cape May Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors of Family Promise, Board of Directors of East Lynne Theatre Company and Board of Directors Historic Cold Spring Village and a member of Cape May Lutheran Church and its choir.  Having grown up in a Church choir, she has a passion for music and entertaining.  Bernadette was lead singer with a few groups in Philadelphia and became a part of the music scene in Cape May with the Hootenanny group singing with the late George Mesterhazy. Currently, she's owner and lead singer for the Capers, a notable ensemble playing in and around the Cape May area. Proud Mother of Kenya Givens Isaac, son in law Clifford Isaac, she has two grand boys, Chad LaMont, Hampton University and Cairo James Isaac, a sophomore at Mt. Pleasant High School.

Joyce Gould’s steadfast dedication to public service has remained unchanged throughout her life. She has selflessly worked to improve the lives of others through her fundraising, leadership, involvement, and mentorship. Joyce served as the mayor of Wildwood Crest from 1989 to 1993, and was a Wildwood Crest commissioner from 1993 until 2021. Joyce was born and raised in Chicago. She attended the University of Miami, earning a bachelor of arts in communications/speech. That is also where she met her husband, Alan, through mutual friends. After a summer visit to Alan’s hometown of Wildwood, a wedding date was set shortly thereafter. After a September wedding in 1965, Joyce settled into her new life in Wildwood Crest while Alan completed his tenure in the Air Force and began practicing law.

Joyce has been a long-standing board member serving the organizations of Cape Women's Resource, Cape Regional Medical Center Foundation, Cape May County Chamber of Commerce (Past President), Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce (Past President), Beth Judah Temple, Wildwood Civic Club, Love of Linda Cancer Fund, Cape May County League of Municipalities (Past President), Greater Wildwood Rotary and Greater Wildwood Lions Club.

She is also a supporter and volunteer of the local veterans’ organizations, Lunch with Lynch Foundation, Wildwood Crest Volunteer Fire Department, and Garden State Boy Scouts of America. Joyce has received numerous awards in her lifetime including Boy Scouts of America Citizen of the Year Award, Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce President Award and Volunteer of the Year Award.

Joyce and her husband Alan Gould, Esq., have been married since 1965 and have a daughter, Traci Gould-Miller, and two grandchildren, Samuel and Paige.

Previously Honored Women of Wonder

2021 WOW Recipients

Michele Gillian, Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce

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, Ocean City Arts Center

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.


Marilyn Miller, Samuel S. DeVico Senior Center

Since 2014, Marilyn Miller has served as the director of Middle Township’s Samuel S. DeVico 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.


Veterans Salute: Doris "Doie" Barnes, Retired Marine Corps Sergeant

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.

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 Kristin Jackson at kjackson@atlantic.edu or (609) 463-3621.