Employees of PIA member agencies may log on below:

PIANJ Women’s Business Forum: Women are responsible for opening doors for others

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The PIANJ Women’s Business Forum started its 2019 season with special guest speaker Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, on Jan. 24, at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Township, N.J. Nearly 80 participants attended the sold-out event.

The commissioner discussed why it is important to support other women in the insurance industry, noting that it was not just her parents, but also other women who she encountered in her professional life who helped her achieve her goals and get to where she is today. Today, she is in a position in which she can help the next generation of women professionals in the insurance industry. “It is my responsibility to open doors for other women to walk through and for those women to open doors for those after them,” said Caride.

To illustrate this point, Caride—who prior to being the state commissioner served as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly and as a law partner for Gonzalez & Caride in Union City—has used her successes and influence to support other women’s success. She created an Annual Women’s Brunch in New Jersey in 2013. In its inaugural year, 48 people attended; four years later, nearly 300 women attended the event.

At the PIANJ Women’s Business Forum, Caride mentioned that while women account for more than half the entry-level workforce in financial services, they remain largely underrepresented in leadership roles. Caride encouraged women in executive positions to help provide opportunities for other women who have the potential and desire to grow professionally. “We need to change the ‘business as usual’ attitude and help make women in leadership positions the norm,” said Caride.

To encourage women to aspire to leadership roles, she drew on her own life experience when she was once told while working as a law clerk that she wasn’t meant for law. The comment had the opposite effect for Caride, and she encouraged forum participants to approach obstacles as motivation rather than discouragement.

The PIANJ Women’s Business Forum thanks Commissioner Caride for her support and highlighting the importance of women’s growth in leadership positions. We look forward to continuing the conversation of women’s advancements during the next Women’s Business Forum, Women Mentoring Women, in May.

Scenes from the program:

Commissioner Caride discusses the importance of how women need to open doors for each other. PIANJ Legislative Representative Carol Katz; PIANJ Women’s Business Forum Committee Members Donna Cunningham, CPIA, Connie Mahoney and Lydia Baswiner; Commissioner Marlene Caride; Committee Members Maria Excalona, CPIA, Karen Murdock, Kacy Campion Renna, CIC, Becky Mateus and Committee Chair Jocelyn Rineer, CIC. (L-R) Commissioner Caride with Women’s Business Forum Committee Chair Jocelyn Rineer, CIC, after Caride’s speech to the PIANJ Women’s Business Forum.

Past forums

May 1, 2018

Women Mentoring Women: Reaching New Heights Together

More than 60 attendees heard Cynthia Heismeyer, vice president, director of marketing, Selective Insurance, discuss growth, opportunities and how to create a supportive network for women. More …

Sept. 19, 2017

Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno

PIANJ held its fall Women’s Business Forum on Sept. 19, 2017 at Forsgate Country Club, Jamesburg, N.J. Insurance professionals from across the state attended the event to hear from the state’s first Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. More …

Oct. 27, 2016

Washington Economic, Policy and Political Updatey

Joan Woodward, executive vice president for public policy at Travelers, gave us an update on policy and politics in Washington, D.C., in the midst of one of the most hotly contested and unpredictable election cycles. More …

May 17, 2016

How professional insurance women can overcome obstacles and biases in the industry

Jeanette Iglesias, of JI Coaching and Consulting in Princeton, NJ, facilitated an interactive workshop that focused on leadership and women's empowerment. Participants brainstormed practical solutions and possible approaches to counter biases and obstacles in the insurance industry. More …

Oct. 13, 2015

Networking luncheon with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman took time out of her busy schedule to come and discuss the power of women in the insurance industry as well as business and politics in general. She talked about how women are now more than ever serving in in stronger roles in what has been primarily male dominated industries and the importance of continuing to do so. More …

May 12, 2015

Productivity Hacks: Today's Tools and Tips for Getting it All Done

On Tuesday, May 12, Deborah Smith, president of Foxtrot Media LLC, discussed the strengths women bring to the insurance workplace and shared the tools and tactics she uses to manage her business and personal life. More …

Nov. 12, 2014

Women and Wealth: Financial Planning Strategies (across a lifetime) for Women

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, Wendy Murphy, CFP, financial advisor, financial planning specialists, The Murphy Group; Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, shared tips, tricks, advice and her experiences on building wealth across a lifetime.. More …

May 15, 2014


Over 30 women came together for an interactive discussion with four distinguished female agency and company executives on May 15th at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township. The forum, which featured women at different stages in their careers, consisted of a question-and-answer format with free-flowing conversation. Attendees learned how the panelists chose insurance for their careers, why they stayed, and what's on the horizon for tomorrow. More …

Nov. 21, 2013

Stress Less! Strategies and Exercises to Manage Your Stressors

Attendees gathered at Forsgate Country Club on Nov. 21, 2013 for the luncheon program "Stress Less! Strategies and Exercises to Manage Your Stressors". Speaker, author and trainer Della Menechella facilitated the interactive session helping women to identify their top stress-producing situations and acquire the skills to manage them more effectively. More …

May 23, 2013

Powerful Women, Powerful Choices

Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey held its spring Women's Business Forum on May 23, 2013, at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township. Donna Cunningham (ADP/Statewide Insurance Agencies), Angela Bossbaly (Travelers Select), Karen Murdoch (Plymouth Rock Management Company) and Kathleen Scales, AAI, CIC (J.S. Braddock Insurance Agency), conducted an executive panel "Powerful Women, Powerful Choices" exploring the importance of women in the industry and the paths they have chosen to become leaders in a field which serves people and businesses in all walks of life. More …

Oct. 3, 2012

Developing Your Corporate Social Media Strategy

The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey held its autumn Women's Business Forum, Oct. 3, 2012, at the Hyatt House in Branchburg. Deborah Smith, social media consultant, trainer and president of Foxtrot Media, LLC, presented a program geared to "Developing Your Corporate Social Media Strategy." Attendees enjoyed the networking luncheon and learned how to use blogs; Facebook; LinkedIn; and Twitter to build their professional brand, capture leads and keep the conversation going with customers. More …