Our 2022 Honorees work in a wide variety of industries and advocate for a spectrum of communities and causes, yet they all embody the YWCA mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Read their bios below to learn more about their professional backgrounds and accomplishments!
The 2022 Tribute to Women Honorees:
As an award-winning multi-generational Wealth Manager and Institutional 401(k) Retirement Plan Counselor, Ka’Neda Bullock, CFP®, founded her firm, Master Plan Investment Group, with a mission to enrich the lives of her clients and their legacy.
Ka’Neda began her career in the investment management industry with one of the largest investment firms in nation, Capital Group (American Funds) and left her corporate role to serve individuals, families, and organizations in 2010. Mrs. Bullock is a graduate of Smith College (B.A.), NJIT (MBA) and a Fulbright fellow (South Korea). She holds an investment Series 7 and 66 securities and life insurance license.
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, she uses investment management and financial planning strategies to help clients achieve their life goals and build generational wealth. She and her team, work one on one with clients to maximize each investment portfolio’s impact on their clients’ retirement goals and chart a clear course to accomplish other financial priorities while living a fulfilled life during the process. In her role as a 401(k)/403(b) retirement plan counselor, she brings her certified financial planning and fiduciary expertise to the entire organization with a proven process to address retention, recruitment, and financial wellness in the workplace.
Ka’Neda’s volunteer work is dedicated to increasing access to financial education and freedom for all communities as well as increasing the number of women and people of color in leadership within the wealth management industry. Raised in Lawrenceville, New Jersey; she and her family; husband, Eric Bullock, M.Ed, and their two daughters Bella(6) and Madison(5) reside in Trenton, NJ. In addition to her financial literacy volunteer work, KaNeda is an active board member of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hamilton Hospital Foundation’s Young Professional Group, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc (Trenton Alumnae Chapter), and Jack and Jill of America, Inc. (Mercer County Chapter). She intentionally brings her passion for family, traveling, gardening and live music to all that she does.
Reina Fleury is Vice President, Human Resource and CHRO at Penn Medicine Princeton Health. As a member of the Princeton Health Senior Management team, Ms. Fleury is responsible for the oversight and implementation of Human Resource programs including Performance Management, Staff Development, Employee Engagement, Change Management, Employee Relations, Health and Wellness, Compensation and Inclusion and Diversity. Ms. Fleury also provides administrative leadership to the Volunteer Services Department, Religious Ministries, Occupational Health and Patient and Guest Relations.
Her immediate past roles were Director, Human Resources at Penn Medicine Princeton Health and Associate Chief Human Resources Officer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia.
Prior to moving into the healthcare industry, Ms. Fleury worked for the American National Red Cross (ARC) for 14 ½ years. In her last role at the ARC, she oversaw Human Resources functions from Maine to South Carolina. Her background includes working in the entertainment industry, non-profit arena and now healthcare. She has strong facilitation experience and has taught several college courses at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY. Courses included HR Management and Business Ethics. She has also developed and facilitated courses on people management and diversity and inclusion.
Ms. Fleury has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources. She has expertise in Performance Management, Employee Relations, Employee Engagement, Change and Culture Management, Talent Acquisition and Diversity and Inclusion.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Economics with an emphasis in Human Resources and a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Leadership. Ms. Fleury previously served as the President of Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of Princeton, NJ and recently joined the board of the American Red Cross of Central NJ.
In 2018, Reina led her team in developing and launching a diversity and inclusion program at Princeton Health. The goal of the program is to create and sustain a culture of belonging for employees and patients. Princeton Health successfully became an LGBTQ friendly organization and received the LGBTQ designation from the Human Rights Campaign, they offer programming that highlights and celebrates differences within their organization, and continues to identify ways to identify and address bias where it may exist.
On a personal note, Reina became a mother as a teenager and has worked to overcome many obstacles in her life’s journey. She had to earn a living at a young age and upon graduating from high school, she started working in the mailroom of a corporation in NYC. With the support of family, friends and professional mentors, she worked hard to get to this point in her career. All of this has created a deep commitment to service. She spends free time serving food to those in need and continuously seeks out ways to help others. Through Women for Women International, Reina sponsors women in third world countries and locally, she enjoys mentoring and providing advice to women, personally and professionally. Reina has had the pleasure of speaking to young women about overcoming adversity and looks forward to returning to these speaking opportunities when possible.
She is mother to two adult sons, Adam and Anthony, mother-in-law to Quanita and grandmother to Miriam
Leyda Flores is an author, human rights activist, and social worker who graduated from the National University of Honduras and obtained a postgraduate degree in Gender and Rural Development. Leyda has a long history working as a fierce advocate for women’s rights and immigrant rights in Honduras, Peru, and the United States. Early in her career, she spent a decade as a Program Director at a non-profit in Honduras before founding her own non-profit, Asociacion Calidad de Vida (Quality of Life Association) in 1996. The organization operates across the seven regions (departments) of Honduras, helping women to escape domestic violence and to build the skills to live independently. At the time of its founding, there were not many organizations doing this, and domestic violence was not a topic widely discussed in the country. Currently, the organization has seven domestic violence shelters, and continues to be a vocal advocate for women’s rights.
Asociacion Calidad de Vida provides psychological and legal counseling, helping women apply for asylum when needed. ACdV also works to combat the pressure many women feel by the expectations of their religion and culture. The organization’s work continues to be more important than ever, as domestic violence has increased in Honduras during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Leyda’s time is the US, she has spent a good deal of her career working as a Community Organizer. This is an incredibly challenging job on many levels. It involves door-to-door outreach in every season, 52 weeks per year. C.O.’s convince residents to join together and fight to address issues and problems in the community. They teach residents how to use governmental and non-governmental channels and partners to get their issues addressed. Working hand in hand with the organization members, they also leverage the press and media, conducting protests and demonstrations. In this role, Leyda has worked to get vast sums of unpaid wages rightfully paid to numerous day laborers.
Recently, Leyda took up a new kind of role. As a breast cancer patient and survivor, Leyda ran a Spanish language support group for YWCA Princeton’s Breast Cancer Resource Center. Her genuine passion to empower women has only grown bolder through her fight with breast cancer.
Most recently, Leyda has worked on a vaccination effort with Centro Communitario CEUS (formerly Comité en Unión para los Salvadores) in New Jersey. Her own journey as an asylee in the US gives her the perspective and ability to make connections with recently immigrated individuals.
In addition to the above, she has published a book: Historias No Contadas – currently sold by Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others. The book chronicles various women’s journeys as they are forced to leave their country to escape dangerous organized criminal groups and to provide for their families. Each are victims of gender-based violence. Their existence is precarious: working without safety nets, without healthcare, fearing deportation, and yet, they must carry on for their children. Flores warns of the silence and shame that so many women carry with them about their sexual assault. She states that the weight they carry is harmful physically and mentally. She urges women to know that they are not alone, and to seek support. Proceeds from the book support one of the seven domestic violence shelters maintained by Asociacion Calidad de Vida.
Tara Lavin has been dedicating her time to Pink Ribbon Softball, Inc. for the past 16 years to organize the annual large scale youth breast cancer awareness charity softball tournament benefiting Susan G. Komen and Princeton YWCA Breast Cancer Resource Center. This charity tournament, also known as The PINK Tournament, encourages and engages the area youth fastpitch participants to fundraise for breast cancer research and to help spread breast cancer awareness to those they reach in their fundraising efforts. To date, Pink Ribbon Softball has raised 1 million dollars toward breast cancer.
Tara first became involved in Pink Ribbon Softball when she participated as a player herself at the inaugural tournament. Her passion lies not only with helping to raise money toward breast cancer research and awareness, but in the sport of Softball. She feels strongly about everyone involved in the tournament having a common passion in the sport and using that passion to come together to achieve a common goal. Tara also empowers young girls to not only help each other, but also find an outlet to support and give back to their community in hopes that it will hold true for their entire life.
Pink Ribbon Softball is a volunteer based organization. Tara herself, along with 30+ volunteers dedicate their time each year to making this tournament fun and memorable for everyone involved. Tara appreciates the honor of receiving this award, but shares it with her team of board members, planning committee members and tournament volunteers who all have “huge hearts” and make The PINK Tournament happen every year, together.
Outside of her Pink Ribbon Softball activities, Tara also volunteers at the Hamilton Girls Softball Association. She has been coaching youth fastpitch softball players at HGSA for 23 years, helping to grow their softball skills and the love of the sport.
The name Kendra Lee is synonymous with ‘Excellence in Womanhood!’ Without a doubt, anyone who has interfaced with her will attest to this. She consistently exudes a subtly powerful presence within the local and state community, with her efforts best evidenced by her twenty-five years of community service endeavors as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. During her membership with the Trenton Alumnae Chapter, Kendra chaired the Program Planning Committee, Social Action Committee, along with the youth groups for elementary through high school youth: Reading Adventures, Delta Academy, and Delta GEMS. Notable highlights of her contributions are the chapter’s locally acclaimed Black History Programs which incorporate the talents of all community youth in high-quality performances to multi-year sold-out crowds. Additionally, Mrs. Lee led the planning team that facilitated a successful virtual ‘2020 Girls Summit’ that has expanded internationally by forging connections in Bermuda and Germany! Additionally, she is the Vice-President of the non-profit board Positive Black Images Connect, which focuses on celebrating the beauty and power of Black people collectively through cultural, economic and community initiatives. She uses her creativity and trailblazer mentality to inspire those around her to envision unforeseeable possibilities to change can’t into can.
So often, we meet people who achieve great feats in the world. But it is a rarity to find someone who mirrors that level of distinction within their family. Kendra’s role as a dedicated wife, mother, and friend are her most extraordinary achievements. She is a strong and committed partner to her husband, modeling what a positively impactful family can be. She and her husband proudly celebrate their children’s achievements including academic and athletic scholarships, earning high honors distinctions while in college and getting an excellent start to their careers in law, finance and medicine. Her youngest son is a skilled scholar athlete who is confident in his potential to excel. Kendra, alongside her husband, entrenched family values through actions. If children are there presentative fruit of their family tree, it is evident Kendra’s branches strongly reach down into the roots.
“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains.” Kendra possesses a heart for service to others and this is also true as it relates to her long-term career at the Mercer County One-Stop Career Center and Workforce Development Board as the Deputy Director of Programs. She dedicates her time to translating vision into comprehensive strategic plans to improve the performance and productivity of the local workforce development system. Mrs. Lee engages with industry leaders, local employers, educational institutions and community and governmental agencies for the benefit of her customer base. She awards grants, creates policy, develops and monitors programming and initiatives, and coordinates services and events that positively impact the community. She is committed to finding creative ways to assist diverse populations in pursing life changing opportunities, with a particular focus on New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens.
Cynthia Mendez was born in Trenton NJ to William and Victoria Gordon. She grew up in the Hightstown/Millstone area and graduated from Allentown High School and is the oldest of three, with two brothers.
Cynthia attended The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO and majored in Sociology. In 2005, she completed the Executive MPA program at Rutgers, The State University/ Newark.
She is happily married (30 years) to Moses Mendez. They have one son, Steven, and she and Moses and are the proud Nana and Pop-pop of Ysaye Angelou, their beautiful granddaughter.
Over the past 30 years Cynthia has held positions at various non-profits in Mercer County including Planned Parenthood, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Urban League of Metropolitan Trenton.
While working for the Urban League for thirteen years- last four years as the Vice President of Programs, she helped develop several programs that had lasting impact, including the Summer Employment Program that was geared towards low-income residents in the North 25 housing development. This program also provided students the opportunity to travel and attend the National Urban League Youth conferences, where they had the opportunity to help develop the NUL’s national youth agenda.
In 1999, Cynthia became the Executive Director of the Princeton Human Services Commission/department, a joint agency of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough. In that capacity, she was also the municipal welfare director, providing assistance to adults without children. This commission/department was relatively new, having been in existence for just over a year. Cynthia served in this position for thirteen years.
During her tenure, Cynthia and her team developed and implemented several programs that are still operating today: Summer Employment Program – funded by the municipalities and for income eligible young adults, the Holiday gift drive for income eligible youth; the annual book bag/school supplies drive, the bicycle rodeo. The team also hosted and sponsored community dialogues on race relations, including an annual one-day conference for the 8th grade classes at John Witherspoon Middle School. Notable guest speakers included Drs. Cornel West and Eddie Glaude. Before leaving, Cynthia worked on the Send Hunger Packing program that was implemented later that year.
In 2011, Cynthia joined the staff of The Crisis Ministry, now known as Arm In Arm as the director of their Homelessness Prevention services. This position gave her the opportunity to help keep people stably housed and for those that were/are homeless provide them with a security deposit for housing. Over the years, Cynthia and her team developed some auxiliary programming to assist clients including the Still Standing Program (funded by PACF-Fund for Women and Girls) which is a program to support and empower single moms; the Beyond Money financial literacy program which helps clients manage their personal finances and improve their credit rating.
In the next five to seven years, she plan to retire. She looks forward to travelling and spending time with her family and friends.
Michele C. Meyer-Shipp was announced as CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide, the leading global nonprofit employment resource for women, on January 12, 2022.
Michele will lead the organization’s 145 affiliates in 23 countries as it continues its mission to help women achieve economic independence through a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to thrive in work and life. She will begin her new role on February 16th.
Michele joins Dress for Success from Major League Baseball, where she served as Chief People & Culture Officer. While at MLB, Michele led the human resources, diversity and inclusion, and office operations functions for the League Office with an emphasis on launching new programs and policies to recruit and develop talent, advancing diversity and inclusion efforts, and enhancing workplace culture. She also served as a senior advisor to the Commissioner as well as leaders across 30 major
league baseball teams and multiple Minor League teams.
Prior to MLB, Michele served as Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at KPMG LLP, where she led initiatives relating to talent recruitment, development and retention, supported the efforts of leaders across KPMG’s 85+ national offices, and managed a portfolio of external strategic partnerships. Previously, she served as Global Chief Diversity Officer for both Prudential Financial and the law firm Akin Gump Strauss
Hauer & Feld LLP.
Michele spent the first decade of her career practicing
employment law in both the private and public sectors, where she advised clients on optimizing talent and implementing equitable workplace initiatives. Meyer-Shipp is a graduate of Rutgers University and Seton Hall University School of Law.
Michele is a sought-after speaker and has served as a Yahoo! Finance News
Contributor and been featured in top media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Savoy Magazine, Black Enterprise, CORE Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, Diversity Woman Magazine, Quartz, Inc., and more. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including The Network Journal’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business” (2021), Core Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Blacks Today” (2021), Black Enterprise’s “Portraits of Power” (2020) and Business Insider’s “38 Power Players of Consulting” (2020).
She is a member of the Boards of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) and the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation.
Jeanette Timmons is one of the unsung heroes of the Princeton community. Although always under the radar, Jeanette quietly influences the lives of underserved families in our community by being the compassionate neighbor who will lend a helping hand whenever and wherever needed.
Jeanette is on the Board of Princeton Cornerstone Community Kitchen (PCCK), which operates out of the Princeton United Methodist Church, and has been volunteering there since August of 2012. Described by its supporters as “a soup kitchen that looks and feels like an upscale restaurant”‘, PCCK served its first meal in June of that year and has continued for every consecutive Wednesday, including all major holidays. And Jeanette has been with them every step of the way. She serves as the manager of the free clothing store, which operates in a spacious room near the dining area and shares the same Wednesday dinner hours of operation. Thanks to Jeanette, the store provides free clothing, toiletries and household items to men, women and children. In addition, Jeanette runs the Back to School backpack drive and distribution, the Holiday gift program and serves as an ESL tutor. There is little that happens at PCCK that does not have Jeanette’s fingerprints on it.
As a Board member of The Jewish Center (TJC), Jeanette helped connect TJC with the Cornerstone Community Kitchen, creating a partnership between these communities that continues today where members of both groups support each other’s missions. In addition, while part of the leadership at TJC, Jeanette served as the vice president of programming, chaired the Arts & Culture and the Social Action Committees and was active with TJC’s refugee resettlement program.
Jeanette also has volunteered her time at Princeton Public Library since 2010. She began assisting in the access services department and currently serves as a client facilitator for AARP’s annual free tax preparation program at PPL.
Jeanette and her husband Mike had been long-time, generous supporters of Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP). Then in 2019, Jeanette reached out to get more involved. She wanted to help families in HIP’S Transitional Housing program, which provides low-income, working families with children access to affordable, quality housing for 12-24 months. While in the program, these families receive wraparound supportive services tailored to help the adults (mostly mothers) and children achieve their goals, including employment, savings, and educational goals. Jeanette was particularly interested in becoming a Friend of HIP (FOH), a group that expands HIP’S capacity and supports its mission In various areas, most Importantly, assisting HIP families; she quickly recognized that she could lend her warmth and caring in a hands-on way with these hard-working women who don’t have the support systems that many of us have.
Jeanette and her husband Mike reside in Princeton and are the loving parents to two sons, Liam and Forrest.
Lisa Wolff joined FoHVOS in 2017 as the Executive Director and also serves on the steering committee for the FoHVOS Invasive Species Strike Team. She co-founded the Outdoor Equity Alliance in 2019.
Lisa holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and has done management strategy consulting for over 25 years.
Her passions include Conservation, Education, and Racial Equity.
Lisa Wolff currently chairs the Hopewell Township Open Space Advisory Committee and is a member of the Woolsey Park Advisory Committee. She served on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Workgroup for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed and is a board member for Community Engagement for the Global Connections Foundation. She served on the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education for a decade and was their longest-serving Board President. She is the immediate past president of the Mercer County School Board Association.
- CDRW – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Toolkit (2020) contributor
- School Leader Magazine, “One District’s Willingness to Start a Difficult Conversation.” NJ School Administrators and Boards statewide journal, March/April Cover Story 2017.
Andrew Zwicker was elected to the Senate in November 2021 after serving three terms in the New Jersey General Assembly where he was the Chair of the Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee.
Senator Zwicker was raised in Englewood, NJ. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bard College and master’s and doctorate degrees, both in physics, from John Hopkins University.
Senator Zwicker has spent his entire professional career at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory where he currently is the head of the Communications and Public Outreach Department. Senator Zwicker is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and The American Association of Physics Teachers has named him to its list of 75 leading contributors to physics education.
The Senator and his wife, Barbara Golden, have three children.