With deep interests in public policy Adriana has taken every opportunity to utilize her privileged position in order to speak out for what she believes in and to lift the voices of impacted community members. Taking the lead in various policy initiatives, she has facilitated community collaboration to highlight the intersectionality between immigration, housing, poverty, and race.
Having served as a nonprofit executive, she has cultivated expertise in development, marketing and communications, sustainability and strategic planning. Adriana has a BA from Rutgers University in Political Science with a minor in Security Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. She also has an MS in Public Policy from Drexel University. She has committed herself to serving on several boards that reflect some of her deepest passions: immigration, racial and health equity, and youth development.
When Adriana isn’t serving her community, she is at home with her two children, husband, and their two dogs.
Young Woman Award Honoree
Moriah Akrong is a native of Princeton, NJ. She received both her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Industry Management and a Masters in Business Administration from Philadelphia University, and is now the proud founder of The Golden Lotus Project LLC. Founded in 2014, The Golden Lotus Project is a socially responsible brand dedicated to giving back, with a mission to help every woman and girl feel empowered by reminding them they were born Golden. As a socially responsible brand, it is supportive of its program goals of empowerment through the sale of unique merchandise, a yearly feminine hygiene product drive, back to school drives, participation in Princeton area community initiatives, and workshops on how to live a more positive life.
Moriah is also a lifetime member of Mt. Pisgah A.M.E Church where she serves as the current President of the Steward board. She is also the 1st Vice President of the Asbury Area Women’s Missionary society.
A scripture that continues to guide her and she uses to encourage others is Romans 5:3-5.
Dr. Kemi Alli
Dr. Alli has been the CEO of Henry J. Austin Health Center since 2015 where she previously served as Chief Medical Officer. She has been a Pediatrician with Henry J. Austin for over 21 years. Dr. Alli obtained her medical degree from Rutgers NJ and completed her pediatric residency from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School NJ.
Dr. Alli has done countless webinars, speaking engagements and conference presentations across the country on various topics from Advanced Access, to Joy in the Workplace to Integrated Care. She is continuing to lead this transformative re-design of the health care delivery process at Henry J. Austin.
Dr. Alli is devoted to the Trenton community founding innovative organizations like the Trenton Health Team and serving on Boards like the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, the New Jersey Primary Care Association, the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, and Thomas Edison State University. Throughout the years through all her work, Dr Alli’s sole goal has been and continues to be, to help improve the quality of life for the residents of Trenton.
Kimme is the Founder and Executive Director of the Urban Mental Health Alliance: Advocating for Healthy Minds in Urban Communities; CEO and Founder of Kimme Carlos Motivational Consulting and Co-Founder and Lead Facilitator of Sister Wellness Retreats: Healing Spaces for Black Women. Kimme is also a certified health and wellness coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; a certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid and author of the published book The Window of Grace: Living in Recovery through Christian Faith.
Kimme has been a member of several nonprofit boards including Foundation Academies, Children’s Futures, The Center for Family, Community, and Social Justice; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Mercer County, where she is also a certified facilitator for the nationally known program, Family to Family.
Kimme is a member of the vestry and Chair of the Mental Harmony ministry at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Trenton. She is a graduate of Regent University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a minor in Psychology. As an advocate with lived experience, Kimme keynotes and facilitates on mental health, addiction & recovery and wellness & self-care. She has received numerous awards for her nonprofit and volunteer work. Kimme has two children, six grandchildren and lives in Pennsylvania.
Mary Anne Haas
CommUNITY Award Honoree
Mary Anne Haas is a native of Seattle, Washington, but is truly a world citizen—she’s lived in New York, California, Rome, Greece, and for the past 23 years, Princeton.
Mary Anne worked at the International Schools Services (ISS) for 19 years, where she worked as the Executive Assistant to the President. During this time, she founded the ISS Women’s Symposium, established as an opportunity for growth and development for women in international education and leadership roles.
Before settling in Princeton, she and her husband, Stanley, lived abroad in Rome and Athens for 30 years, where they both worked in international education. Mary Anne served as President of the American Women’s Club, and volunteered at the U.S Embassy in Greece.
Mary Anne credits her parents, Hasidic Jews who emigrated from Russia, with teaching her pride in her heritage, and the importance of education and charity. She is the proud mother of Philip Haas and Leslie Haas Emanuel.
Merodie Hancock, PhD
Dr. Merodie A. Hancock serves as the fourth president of Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, N.J. She is a nationally recognized leader in the administration and delivery of innovative education programs for non-traditional students. Access, success and completion are the mainstays of Hancock’s educational philosophy. She has dedicated her career to serving a multitude of underrepresented populations and advises regularly at the state, national and international levels. Prior to her election as president of Thomas Edison State University, Hancock served as president of State University of New York, Empire State College.
Previously, she served as vice president at Central Michigan University Global Campus and held administrative leadership and teaching positions at the University of Maryland University College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She holds a PhD in urban services and education administration from Old Dominion University, an MBA from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Scripps College.
Young Woman Award
Lauren Lalicon is a first-generation Filipino American, born and raised in New Jersey. She currently serves as the policy director to First Lady Tammy Murphy of New Jersey. As policy director, Lauren helps to craft the First Lady’s policy agenda regarding maternal and infant health, K-12 climate change education, and fostering women-owned businesses.
Lauren is a dedicated member of the Filipino American community. She has been involved with UniPro and MakilalaTV, and currently serves as the Executive Director to Professional Filipino American Youth (PFAY), a networking group for Fil-Am young professionals. She is an active alumna of the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) as a 2018 delegate.
She is a co-founder of the Asian American Women’s Networking Group of Trenton, and in her role in the First Lady’s office, she has helped develop the Governor Murphy’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month receptions at Drumthwacket, the Governor’s residence.
Katherine N. Nunnally, MPA from Trenton, NJ, gained a passion for community service and education from her parents and the many programs and organizations she participated in around the city.
After graduating from Trenton Central High School, Class of 1994, Katherine attended Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, where she double majored in African American Studies and Elementary Education. During her college career her passion for community empowerment began to form and she began working in the public and nonprofit sectors in the Greater Newark Community.
Katherine coordinated the AmeriCorps and America Reads Programs at Seton Hall as well as participated in the College Leadership NJ Program. Additionally, she founded the African Student Leadership Coalition and the Educational Opportunity Program Student Organization Seton Hall chapter. Katherine served on several other organizational boards and was awarded organizational leader of the year from the Educational Opportunity Fund Statewide Organization 1997 and 1998.
She also started a women’s support group called The Sister Circle and mentored youth through the campus ministry DOVE. Her work of empowering girls and young women as well as spreading the love of Jesus Christ continues to be a staple in Katherine’s life. After graduating in 1999 with a BS in Education, Katherine became a teacher at Sojourner Truth Middle School in East Orange, NJ.
Returning to Seton Hall University in 2003, Katherine served as an adjunct professor and Coordinator for Counseling Services. While maintaining her commitment to the community, Katherine provided college tutors to Newark Public Schools and community organizations and worked in the Youth Ministry, served as Christian Education Director, Praise Dance Director, and Minister at her various church homes. Katherine founded God’s Promise in 2004 and received her Masters’ Degree from Seton Hall University, 2006 in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Governance.
God’s Promise served both the Newark (Dhkiyah Kabibi) and Trenton (My Sister’s and I) communities and focused on youth and girls’ empowerment. Katherine has served on several boards for community organizations and mentored many youths. In 2006, Katherine was awarded Woman of The Year by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Gamma Omicron Zeta Chapter.
She is a published author (Brick City Blues) and consultant for nonprofit organizations and their Governing Boards. While working in the non-profit sector, Katherine served in what she calls a “Work of Heart” as a classroom teacher and then administrator in both the public and charter school systems. In 2016, Katherine returned to her hometown of Trenton to serve as the Executive Director/CEO of the Smith Family Foundation and #IAMTHECHANGE. The Smith Family Foundation’s mission is to Empower our community, cultivate leaders and transform lives by providing funding and leadership development to Trenton based organizations. With her personal mantra, Success is the ONLY option! Katherine is dedicated to the foundation’s Core Values of Education, Cultivation, Transformation, and Urban Ministry. She is committed to diligently working to empower leaders. Katherine resides in New Jersey with her husband Talib and children Makeda, Zaria, Ezra, and Sakura.
Joanne Parker is a true New Jerseyan. Born in Neptune, New Jersey, Joanne moved to Princeton as a young girl and has been a resident for more than 50 years. She was educated in Princeton Public Schools and graduated from Princeton High School in 1977. After continuing her education at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, Joanne chose to return to Princeton to begin her life of service and function as a liaison for the Princeton community. With her husband of more than 41 years, Thomas (Tommy), and Joanne raised 6 children and enjoy chasing after their 5 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. Joanne Parker stands apart from most people because of her tireless dedication to Princeton youth and the community in general. Joanne has worked as an aide to special education students at John Witherspoon Middle School for more than 34 years under the supervision of William (Bill) Johnson. During that time, Joanne coached soccer, basketball, and softball, and was a member of the Princeton Public School Minority Education Committee. Joanne is one of the three founding members of Princeton Young Achievers, an organization started in 1993 and continues its marvelous work through Princeton Family YMCA. Joanne is a valuable member of the Princeton community. She serves as Youth Director at the First Baptist Church and is a current member of Eastern Stars and Elks. Joanne is an active representative of Zeta Amicae Auxiliary of Princeton-Trenton.
As a dedicated employee of the Princeton Family YMCA, Joanne performs a myriad of acts of kindness, including the Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive, the Give Back for the Holiday gift card collection, and the campaign to collect backpacks containing school supplies for students in need. During her tenure in Princeton, Joanne has served as President of the Progressive Baptist Youth Department and is a former representative of the Arts Council of Princeton. She was an alternate board member of Not In Our Town Princeton (NIOT).
Joanne has been recognized for her tireless dedication to the community and unselfish nature as a volunteer. Some of her notable achievements include a proclamation from Mayor Barbara Sigmund for the program, “Making a Difference in the Community.” Joanne is the recipient of the 2016 Centennial Awards for Youth Development and received the Mildred Trotman Community Service Award for service and commitment to the Princeton Witherspoon-Jackson Community. Almost half a century has passed since Joanne decided to return to Princeton to begin her life as an independent adult and raise a family. During that time, Joanne has focused on the enrichment of the youth of Princeton and has dedicated herself to the improvement of the lives of her neighbors, both near and far.
Sarah Torian has been involved in issues of civil rights and economic justice for more than 20 years. Since 2002, she has worked as an independent consultant for nonprofits and foundations as the principal of Torian+Whitley Consulting, providing research, qualitative evaluation, communications, and project management services. She is co-author of two groundbreaking reports, examining the structural and systemic barriers that sustain racial inequities in Atlanta, and manages a webinar series designed to build the capacity of local funders and community collaborations in supporting children’s early language and literacy development from birth through third grade. Here in Princeton, she has served on the board of Housing Initiatives of Princeton since 2014, including three years as co-vice chair. Through HIP’s transitional housing program, she helps families with children access quality, affordable housing in Princeton while receiving wraparound supportive services tailored. She also works with HIP’s emergency rental assistance program, helping low-income renters in Princeton and surrounding areas avoid eviction and homelessness.
Jerlene “Cookie” Worthy
Jerlene H. Worthy, affectionately known as “Cookie,” a resident of Ewing Township, was born, raised, and educated in Reynolds, Georgia. Cookie relocated to Trenton, New Jersey in 1961.
On May 13, 1986, Cookie became the first African-American woman in the history of the State of New Jersey and Mercer County to serve as Clerk to the Board of Chosen Freeholders. In June 1987, Cookie was elected President of the New Jersey Association of Freeholder Clerks. Ms. Worthy was formerly employed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, and the Office of Ewing Township Mayor Alfred W. Bridges. Cookie, a proud mother of two children, Shilda and Walker, Jr., is member of the Shiloh Baptist Church, where she serves as a Trustee Aide. As a community leader, Cookie has assembled an impressive list of civic, political and professional associations which include, National Board Member of the National Congress of Black Women, President of the National Congress of Black Women-Trenton/Mercer Chapter, former President, Mercer County Democratic Black Caucus, Member, of the Mercer County Democratic Committee, Member and former Vice-Chair of the Ewing Township Democratic Club, former Member of the Mercer County Federation of Democratic Women, former President of the New Jersey Association of Freeholder Board Clerks, Member of the Mercer County Association of Municipal Clerks, Member of the New Jersey Association of Municipal Clerks, Member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Life Member, former Treasurer and Executive Committee member of the Trenton Branch NAACP, former Member of the Trenton Chapter- Twigs, Incorporated, Member of the Bronzettes, Incorporated, former Member Executive Board of the Trenton YWCA, former Secretary and Member of the Ewing Township Welfare Board, former Member of the Trenton Urban Women’s Center Advisory Board, Member of the New Jersey Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, and Member of the Urban League Guild- Metropolitan Trenton Chapter.
The many hours of diligent public service Cookie has dedicated to the community have resulted in her receiving the following awards and honors: Urban League Guild of Trenton, Outstanding Commitment and Excellence in Community Service, March 2018; Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, Trailblazers Award, April 2016; Delaware-Raritan Girl Scouts Council, “The World of People Award,” April 1995; Fai-Ho-Cha, Community Service Award,” March 1993; New Jersey Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc. West Central District No.1, Community Service Award, April 1992; Epsilon Xi Zeta Chapter, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, “Women of the Year,” May 1989, New Jersey Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc., “State Service Award,” July 1987; Trenton Chapter, Twigs, Incorporated, “National Service Award,” April 1985; and Bronzettes, Incorporated, “Mother of the Year”, May 1984. Cookie attended Mercer County Community College.