Riverdale, N.J. – February 1, 2022 – Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey (GSNNJ), the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, announces it will be recognizing five of New Jersey’s most influential women leaders as this year’s Women of Achievement honorees.
For over 40 years, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey has recognized extraordinary women from the local community for their personal and professional accomplishments, paying a special tribute to their successes at GSNNJ’s annual Women of Achievement gala. This year’s Women of Achievement honorees include women leaders across northern New Jersey from various industries and backgrounds, each of whom is being recognized for breaking barriers and making a significant change in their communities while serving as a strong role model for girls. This year’s honorees include:
Pia House Walker, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, St. Joseph’s Health, recipient of the Women of Achievement Award – A resident of Secaucus, N.J., Pia House Walker is an immensely driven healthcare human resource professional with over 25 years of experience. House Walker currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at St. Joseph’s Health, one of the top hospitals in the state of New Jersey. A leader across various organizations for 15 years, House Walker has been instrumental in supporting organizations to achieve positive employee experiences for their teams. House Walker’s support results in improved patient outcomes by successfully leading teams in various areas including onboarding, employee relations, learning, total rewards, and overall recognition.
House Walker’s exemplary leadership has not only resulted in both positive patient outcomes and a stronger understanding of workplace concepts but has earned her and her organizations numerous achievements, including multiple “Top 100 Places to Work” and “Modern Healthcare Best Places to Work” awards. House Walker was also the recipient of the 2019 Individual Diversity First Award, which honors individuals who exhibit leadership and dedication through diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Additionally, she was recently named a 2021 Top 50 HR Officer through the National Diversity and Leadership Council. House Walker’s dedication to prioritizing diversity and inclusion while fostering a healthy work environment truly makes her as an exceptional role model for young girls and professionals alike.
Farhanna Sayegh, Multicultural Marketing Director, CQ Fluency, recipient of Women of Achievement Award – A Paterson, N.J. resident, Sayegh is an intuitive and results-oriented marketing executive with a passion for uncovering cultural perspectives that influence how people live, work and play. As the Multicultural Marketing Director for CQ Fluency, a minority and woman-owned business enterprise, Sayegh works closely with healthcare clients seeking to leverage their cultural intelligence through communication. Growing up in a multilingual household, Sayegh is tremendously adept at meeting clients’ translation needs, going above and beyond to promote a professional culture where the values and viewpoints of others are celebrated and wholly understood. Sayegh is also a marketing committee member for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.
In addition to her professional career, Sayegh is a mother of three and a fierce advocate for women and children as the First Lady of the City of Paterson. Throughout her time serving the state’s third largest and most diverse city, Sayegh has made it her personal mission to increase parental involvement to boost early childhood literacy rates through both public-private partnerships and the #PatersonReads grassroots marketing campaign. A former PTO Vice President at Paterson Public Schools and 2019 “Parent of the Year,” Sayegh is truly a role model when it comes to contributing to and advocating for a strong sense of community among women, those from various cultural backgrounds, and beyond.
Carol A. Vargas, Vice President, Integrated Care Atlantic Health System, recipient of Women of Achievement Award – A resident of Summit, N.J., Vargas has been a leader in the health care sector for over 20 years. As Vice President of Integrated Care at Atlantic Health System, Vargas works to integrate clinical, behavioral, and social care to produce great outcomes and build healthier communities. She has developed strategies and programs in the areas of care coordination, community health, social determinants of health, mental and behavioral health, post-acute care, home care, and telemedicine to support the System’s transition to value-based care and population health. Vargas works closely with a team of nurses, social workers, community health workers, behavioral health clinicians, and community health educators to provide appropriate and affordable care and resources to achieve optimal health and well-being for over 35,000 patients.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vargas played a crucial role in pivoting the team’s efforts towards keeping Atlantic Health System communities and colleagues safe. By working to establish a COVID nurse hotline, Vargas and her team were able to provide guidance, education, treatment protocols and tele-visits for community members. Additionally, she introduced a clinical and social transition program for COVID patients leaving emergency departments and inpatient units as well as an Advanced Care at Home program for acute COVID patients. Vargas’ leadership during a time of immense uncertainty makes her an exceptional role model and a true healthcare hero.
O’Kneeka I. Roberts, Account Executive, Salesforce, recipient of Elinor J. Ferdon Young Women of Promise Award – A Ridgewood, N.J. resident, Roberts is an award-winning leader with over 16 years of pharmaceutical and publishing sales experience and has a passion for bettering the local community and the world around her. As an Account Executive for Manufacturers and Distributors at Salesforce, Roberts builds effective teams, manages complexity, and delivers strategic and financial results for the company. Deeply involved in her community, Roberts is a member of the Bergen Passaic Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, as well as the outgoing Vice President of Bergen County Mocha Moms, an organization that empowers moms through all stages of motherhood. Roberts is also a veteran, formerly serving as a Marine Safety Officer in the United States Coast Guard.
As a Girl Scout Troop Leader for her seven-year-old daughter Alaiya Michelle, Roberts instills the values of courage, confidence and character in her troop. By teaching her troop the importance of open communication and advocacy for both themselves and their families, Roberts hopes to create a legacy of girls who, like herself, make the world a better place. By serving as a role model for these young girls, her professional peers, and her local community, Roberts truly embodies the vision and values of the Elinor J. Ferdon Young Women of Promise Award.
Betty A. Garger, Former Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, recipient of Mitzi Golbek Spirit of Girl Scouting Award – A resident of Sparta, N.J., member of the Girl Scouts community for over 30 years and nine years as the President and Chief Executive Officer, Garger’s career has been dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of young girls. A Girl Scout herself, Garger learned many important lessons in Girl Scouting—including the utmost importance of an all-girl space where girls have the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. Recognizing volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, Garger worked tirelessly to foster an environment where adult volunteers could help develop the leaders of tomorrow through their mentorship.
An active member of her local community, Garger has served as the President, Vice President and Secretary of the Paterson Rotary Club as well as the Chair of the Personnel Committee for the Spring Street Community Development Corp in Morristown. Garger was also recently recognized as a 2021 NJBIZ 50 Best Women in Business honoree for her professional accomplishments.
Garger currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Junior Achievement of New York. While Garger no longer works as a professional Girl Scout, she remains an advocate for girls and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. She continues to be connected to the organization as a Girl Scout alum, a proud mother of a Gold Award Girl Scout, and a Girl Scout Champion as a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Planned Giving Society and GSNNJ’s Circle of Friends Giving Society. Thanks to Garger’s leadership, GSNNJ has gone on to reach tremendous heights and the organization is honored to award her with the Mitzi Golbek Spirit of Girl Scouting Award, an award named after her mentor.
“We are extremely honored to recognize Pia, Farhanna, Carol, O’Kneeka, and Betty as our Women of Achievement recipients for 2022—each of whom truly exemplifies the values of Girl Scouting—and can’t wait to celebrate their accomplishments at our annual Women of Achievement gala this April,” said Edwin Barreto, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey. “Not only is our gala an opportunity to pay tribute to these outstanding women leaders, it’s also an important fundraising event for Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey with all proceeds going toward expanding the impact and reach of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in northern New Jersey through programming, recruitment, scholarships, financial assistance, and more.”
This year’s annual gala will take place on April 6, 2022, at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, N.J. from 6:30-10:00 p.m. General tickets are $175 per person and VIP tickets are available at $250 per person, which include exclusive access to a VIP Reception from 6:00-6:30 p.m. along with a special VIP gift. Guests from area corporations and the community-at-large are welcome to join in honoring these women by attending the event, becoming a sponsor, taking out an ad in the gala tribute journal, or making a donation.
Proceeds from Women of Achievement provide opportunities for girls to participate in girl-led programming such as STEM, outdoors, financial literacy, civic advocacy, and healthy living; recruit volunteers and provide them with training and the tools needed to engage and mentor girls; give access to age-appropriate materials, activities, and resources to inspire girls; and reach more girls by providing scholarships and financial assistance to those in need.
For more information about the event, sponsorship opportunities, or tickets, contact Sandra Kenoff, Chief Development and Communications Officer, at (973) 248-8200 and firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.gsnnj.org/woa. Donations may be made online or mailed by check to the attention of the Fund Development Department at Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, 95 Newark Pompton Turnpike Riverdale, NJ, 07457.
About Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them.
Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves girls ages 5-18 in Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and northern Warren counties, bringing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to more than 17,200 girls and nearly 9,700 adult members. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for every girl and her family.
To learn more about Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey or to volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.gsnnj.org and stay connected by following GSNNJ on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.