NAPO NORTHERN NEW JERSEY

NAPO-NNJ Chapter History

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, this expression means “if you really need to do something, you will think of a way of doing it." NAPO-NNJ’s first Chapter President, Gayle Gruenberg must have been reading the Cambridge Dictionary on her way to a NAPO-NY meeting back in 2004...

Before NAPO-NNJ was formed, the only local chapter choices for New Jersey based Professional Organizers were NAPO-NY (formerly known as NAPO-Greater New York Area) attracting Professional Organizers from Northern and Central New Jersey and the NAPO-Greater Philadelphia Chapter, attracting NAPO members from southern New Jersey. Says Gayle, “ I didn’t like shlepping into NYC, and in NJ we have such a different ‘organizing culture. ‘ I saw that there were quite a few of us (members of NAPO-NY) from Bergen County, so I thought if we were to band together, we could form a chapter.”

According to Fern Silvernagel her first memories of forming a NJ chapter started at a NAPO-NY GO Month event in 2004. She recalls, “Gayle asked me why NJ didn’t have a chapter—she had a fierce determination in her eyes!”

That fierce determination and conversations with some of the NJ Professional Organizers about the need for a NJ chapter started the chapter-in-formation ball rolling. Dorothy Frischman and Nancy Goldsmith recall that in June 2005, under the leadership of Gayle Gruenberg and Pamela J. Macleod, surveys went out to NJ Professional Organizers polling interest in forming a NJ Chapter. Results of the survey were overwhelmingly in favor of a NJ Chapter and the pre-formation meeting took place on April 10, 2005 with about 30 Professional Organizers in attendance. The agenda for that meeting included goals, logistics, recruitment of Board members and volunteers.

The first Executive Board was selected and formed with the following Professional Organizers:

President: Gayle Gruenberg

VP: Pamela J. Macleod

Treasurer: Deborah Gussoff

Secretary: Bernadette Flaim

Director-at-Large: Dorothy Frischman

BOARD & COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Membership: Janice Marino-Doyle/Jean Marie Herron

Admin. Chair/Librarian/Historian: Nancy Goldsmith

Professional Development:

Communications/IT: Barbara Hart

Assoc. Director: Fern Silvernagel

The NNJ "Chapter-in-Formation" was off and running! Starting in May 2005, meetings were held at Cypress Gardens in Emerson, NJ. With fast growth, a bigger space was needed, so the chapter moved it’s monthly meetings to the American Red Cross in Fairfield, the current meeting venue for NAPO-NNJ. With great effort by the Executive Board, Board, and volunteers, the NAPO-NNJ Chapter received their NAPO charter in October 2005 and was officially recognized at the NAPO annual conference in March 2006.

In 2005, around the same time our chapter was in its beginning stages, NAPO proclaimed January as Get Organized (GO) Month (NAPO’s annual public awareness campaign). NAPO-NNJ wasted no time after the chapter was formed in publicizing its existence and the benefits to hiring a professional organizer. The first NAPO-NNJ GO Month event was held in 2006 at Cypress Gardens helping seniors and the facility get organized. In 2007, NAPO-NNJ hosted a successful Shred-a-Thon at the American Red Cross. Other GO Month events included lectures and ‘Ask the Organizer’ panels at IKEA of Paramus in 2010, an ‘Ask the Organizer’ event at Restyle Renew of Denville, and The Home Show at The Meadowlands in 2013. As Marketing Director, Andrea Walker led a committee to execute an aggressive plan to showcase NAPO-NNJ and the organizing profession. Says Andrea, “It was a great example of our chapter working together and raising the bar.  I can't say enough about the experience and how it solidified my connection with the chapter and our members.  It also made me realize what we are capable of when we combine forces.”

‘Combining forces’ is the perfect way to describe how NAPO-NNJ garnered the attention of NAPO National and NAPO members across the United States. In 2011, NAPO announced a partnership with the organization Soles4Souls and challenged all NAPO chapters to collect pairs of shoes for people in need. NAPO-NNJ members faced the challenge head on and set out to win, giving new meaning to the word “teamwork.”

In total, the chapter collected an impressive 22,855 pair of shoes with member Diane Thomson collecting close to half that number. Says Diane, “I collected a total of 10,000 pairs of shoes with the help of about 40 teams of people, many local business and organizations and of course NAPO-NNJ.” The chapter collected all types of shoes including leather, suede, sparkly, and even size 16 shoes!

At the 2012 NAPO Conference in Baltimore, our ‘Queen of Sole,’ Diane Thomson was recognized and honored as the individual winner of the Soles4Souls Challenge for collecting the most shoes of any NAPO member. The Grand Prize: a trip to Haiti to accompany Soles4Souls to assist with shoe distribution. The Northern New Jersey Chapter was also recognized as the chapter that collected the most shoes during the Challenge. NAPO-NNJ members attending Conference stood on their chairs and applauded wildly at the accomplishments of their members. It was an exhilarating and proud moment in NAPO-NNJ history—a large feather in our cap. Cena Block, then Chapter President recalls, “It was a thrill to serve as President and attend conference at that time because it was truly a breakout year for our chapter.”

As part of the NAPO Soles4Souls Challenge prize, NAPO-NNJ was awarded several hundred pair of shoes to distribute. Members of NAPO-NNJ gave out 300 pair of Skecher clogs to children at the Newark Now Summer Kick-Off and 200 pair to children at Oasis - A Haven for Women and Children in Paterson, NJ.

With an extraordinary accomplishment under its belt, NAPO-NNJ was poised for equally extraordinary growth. Its numbers have more than doubled since the first chapter meetings of 2005:

In Jan 2006, the chapter had 24 members, Feb - 26 members, May - 34

members, July - 37 members,

2006 - 40 members

2007 - 53 members

2008 - 58 members

2009 – 57 members

2010 – 58 members

2011 – 68 members

2012 – 65 members

2013 – 65 members

2014 – 63 members

2015 – 67 members!!!!!!

With higher membership numbers, came more people to contribute their diverse skill set to our chapter. Over the years, many new members saw volunteering as the perfect way to lend a hand, meet other Professional Organizers, and learn more about the profession. Cindy Lynch, who joined the chapter in 2009, started out in charge of chapter meeting refreshments, went on to become Secretary, then Vice President and then served two terms as Chapter President. Deborah Gussoff has served five terms as Chapter Treasurer and Taryn Lamb served six terms as Director of Membership.

Current Director of Associate Members, Jean Marie Herron stated, “The chapter is vibrant and growing. I look forward in anticipation to the next decade. I’m certain we will become one of the largest and most productive chapters in the nation.”

What does the future have in store for NAPO-NNJ? Says current Chapter President, Andrea Walker, “I want to build on what has been done during the first 10 years. Raising awareness of the industry is paramount--I want the world to know and understand the benefits we bring to our clients.  I want our individual businesses to grow and our members to help each other grow and expand--we are colleagues, not competitors.

I want our chapter to grow in numbers of members and I want each member to increase top line revenue.  I want to be able to bring information, content, presentations, and knowledge to our members so they can grow and have hugely successful businesses.  I want to partner with other chapters, I want to get recognized in the media for what we do, and I want NAPO-NNJ to be the benchmark that all other NAPO chapters aspire to.

We are all here because a few people saw the opportunity and were willing to put in the time and effort to make it something.  It's our responsibility going forward to take it further and THINK BIGGER. Our founding members had a vision and the current board has a vision. With the involvement of our members I know we can achieve it.”

“We have definitely grown, evolved, and matured as a chapter,” says NAPO-NNJ’s first President, Gayle Gruenberg. “I’m so proud to see how NAPO-NNJ has helped our members grow their businesses and create friendships and partnerships. Here’s to the next 10 years!”

Onward and upward, NAPO-NNJ!

Written by Stacey Agin Murray

October, 2015

Thank you to all our current and past NNJ Board members! We wouldn’t be where we are today without you. Each Board's term of office is for one year, effective May 15.

2017-2018


 President   Katie Tracy
 Vice President  Deirdre Smith
 Secretary  Laura Bostrom
 Treasurer  Dana Freiburg
 Immediate Past-President  Andrea Walker, CPO®
 Director, Administration  Diane Thomson
 Director, Membership  Elaine Fernando
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Erin Hamilton
 Director, Communications & Technology  Russ Tybus   
 Director, Associate Membership  Lori Paradise
 Director, Marketing  Angela Murray

2016-2017


 President   Andrea Walker, CPO®
 Vice President  Katie Tracy
 Secretary  Deirdre Smith
 Treasurer  Dana Freiburg
 Director-at-Large  Deborah Gussoff, CPO®
 Director, Administration  Taryn Lamb, CPO®
 Director, Membership  Kathe Roberts
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Gayle Gunn
 Director, Communications & Technology  Russ Tybus   
 Director, Associate Membership  Scott Orshan (May-Aug.)
 Mary Bellofatto (Aug.-May)
 Director, Marketing  Elaine Fernando

2015-2016


 President   Andrea Walker, CPO®
 Vice President  Katie Tracy
 Secretary  Deirdre Smith
 Treasurer  Dana Freiburg
 Director-at-Large  Deborah Gussoff, CPO®
 Director, Administration  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Membership  Kathe Roberts
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Jill Iorio
 Director, Communications & Technology  Russ Tybus     
 Director, Associate Membership  Jean Marie Herron
 Director, Marketing  Lara Holt

2014-2015


 President   Cindy Lynch
 Vice President  Deborah Gussoff, CPO®
 Secretary  Katie Tracy
 Treasurer  Dana Freiburg
 Director-at-Large  Andrea Walker
 Director, Administration  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Membership  Kathe Roberts
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Jean Marie Herron
 Director, Communications & Technology  Idona Conley (5/14 - 1/15)
 Russ Tybus (2/15 - 5/15)    
 Director, Associate Membership  Carol Kaufman
 Director, Marketing  Lara Holt

2013-2014


 President  Cindy Lynch
 Vice President  Deborah Gussoff, CPO®       
 Secretary  Katie Tracy
 Treasurer  Dana Freiburg
 Director-at-Large/Past President  Cena Block
 Director, Administration  Carla Love
 Director, Membership  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Jean Marie Herron
 Director, Communications & Technology  Mary Bellofatto
 Director, Associate Membership  Carol Kaufman
 Director, Marketing  Andrea Walker

2012-2013


 President  Cena Block                          
 Vice President  Cindy Lynch
 Secretary  Katie Tracy
 Treasurer  Sangita Patel
 Director-at-Large  Diane Thomson
 Director, Administration  Jane Sheen
 Director, Membership  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Angie Robinson
 Director, Communications & Technology  Mary Bellofatto
 Director, Associate Membership  Carol Kaufman
 Director, Marketing  Andrea Walker

2011-2012


 President  Cena Block
 Vice President  Pam Gold
 Secretary  Cindy Lynch
 Treasurer  Sangita Patel
 Director-at-Large  Diane Thomson
 Director, Administration  Jane Sheen
 Director, Membership  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Diane Sunderman
 Director, Communications & Technology  Mary Bellofatto (5/11 - 9/11)
 Ann Bishop (10/11-5/12)
 Director, Associate Membership  Carol Kaufman
 Director, Marketing  Andrea Walker

2010-2011


 President  Kerrie Obermeyer
 Vice President  Sherri Boxer
 Secretary  Cindy Lynch
 Treasurer  Linda English
 Director-at-Large/Past President  Beatrix Goudey
 Director, Administration  Kathe Roberts
 Director, Membership  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Pam Gold
 Director, Communications & Technology  Ann Bishop 
 Director, Associate Membership  Scott Sinclair
 Director, Marketing  Position remained open       

2009-2010


 Co-Presidents  Dorothy Frischman, Beatrix Goudy
 Vice President  Nancy Goldsmith
 Co-Secretaries  Jean Marie Herron, Christine Szabo
 Treasurer  Deborah Gussoff
 Immediate Past President  Gayle Gruenberg
 Director, Administration  Kathe Roberts
 Director, Membership  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Diane Thomson
 Director, Communications & Technology  Position remained open
 Director, Associate Membership  Carla Boissonault
 Director, Marketing  Position remained open       

2008-2009


 President  Gayle Gruenberg
 Vice President  Ellen Kazanoff
 Secretary  April Tidey
 Treasurer  Deborah Gussoff
 Director-at-Large  Beatrix Goudey
 Director, Administration  Nancy Goldsmith
 Director, Membership  Taryn Lamb
 Director, Professional Development &  Programs        Diane Thomson, Julie Isaacs
 Director, Communications & Technology  Christine Szabo
 Director, Associate Membership          Carla Boissonault
 Director, Marketing  Position remained open

2007-2008


 President  Gayle Gruenberg
 Vice President  Ellen Kazanoff
 Secretary  Nicole Pittaluga, April Tidey
 Treasurer  Deborah Gussoff
 Director-at-Large  Dorothy Frischman
 Director, Administration  Nancy Goldsmith
 Director, Membership  Beatrix Goudey
 Director, Professional Development &  Programs  Jean Marie Herron
 Director, Communications & Technology  Christine Szabo
 Director, Associate Membership  Fern Silvernagel
 Director, Marketing  Position remained open

2006-2007


 President  Gayle Gruenberg
 Vice President  Pamela J. Macleod
 Secretary  Nicole Pittaluga
 Treasurer  Deborah Gussoff
 Director-at-Large  Dorothy Frischman
 Director, Administration  Nancy Goldsmith
 Director, Membership  Beatrix Goudey
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Jean Marie Herron
 Director, Communications & Technology  Barbara Hart
 Director, Associate Membership  Fern Silvernagel
 Director, Marketing  Position remained open

2005-2006


 President  Gayle Gruenberg
 Vice President  Pamela J. Macleod
 Secretary  Bernadette Flaim
 Treasurer  Deborah Gussoff
 Director-at-Large  Dorothy Frischman
 Director, Administration  Nancy Goldsmith
 Director, Membership  Jean Marie Herron
 Director, Professional Development & Programs  Sherry Harmon
 Director, Communications & Technology  Barbara Hart
 Director, Associate Membership  Fern Silvernagel
 Director, Marketing  Monica Reccoppa

NAPO - Northern New Jersey  |  PO Box 816, Keyport, NJ 07735  |  info@naponnj.org  |  (866) 550-7263

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