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Photos by David Michael Howarth

At this year’s men’s roundtable, 13 prominent men gathered for dinner at The Capital Grille in Cherry Hill to talk about their personal experiences and the hard-earned wisdom they now have. Some shared painful memories and life-changing moments. Others told inspirational stories from their past. Everyone discussed what they now know is important, and what they’ve discovered is not. As always, the men’s roundtable was an interesting evening of good conversation and friendly exchange.

N.J. Assemblyman Ryan Peters

Jim Cummings
Director of Experiential Learning, UrbanPromise 

Joe Jingoli
CEO, Jingoli

Michael Banks
Managing Dir. of Opportunity, Entrepreneurship & Employment, United Way of Greater Phila. & Southern NJ

Brian Propp
NHL Hall of Famer 

Ben Dworkin
Director, Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship

Kris Kolluri
President/CEO, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership

Rabbi Larry Sernovitz
Founder, Nafshenu/Chaplain, Cherry Hill Police Dept.

Rob Worley
Senior Vice President, Republic Bank

Marques Colson
Former Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints/Founder, Dynasty Innovation

Former Governor James Florio

Camden Mayor Frank Moran

Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young


On a moment that changed their lives…

I was at the Naval Academy on 9/11. President Bush said this is who did it and we’re all going to war. For me, I wanted to see how I could get, what we call, the tip of the spear – I wanted to be on the front lines. I wanted to find the people that did this and get my own sort of Jersey revenge. I found a SEAL on campus, and he put me on a path. I focused on how to get chosen to become a SEAL, and in September of 2004, I started training. I have two birthdays, the day I was born and the day I graduated SEAL training. I spent my 20s in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was an honor and a privilege.
Ryan Peters

My entire childhood was molded by the fact that my parents were foster parents. I had four siblings of my own, and my parents cared for 40 or 50 foster kids throughout my childhood. To see my parents open their home gave me a unique perspective. Some kids, when given the right resources, thrived. Other kids, given the same resources, reverted back to what was innately in them. For me, even through professional sports, the odds were really never in my favor, but having, in my spirit, that ability to make the most of my resources led me to where I am today.
Marques Colson 

I became a single dad to a teenaged girl who showed up on my door saying I was the only dad she ever knew. I hadn’t seen her since she was 7, when I was dating her mom. I didn’t think she should stay over unless there was another woman in the house, so I had women friends who volunteered to stay over. I got her a therapist. She was 13 and hadn’t been to school in three years, so we home-schooled her. She is 21 now, and she manages our equine-assisted learning program at the farm where we live. She wants to work with autistic kids, so she’s building her own program at our farm. She’s doing incredible. I’m dad. It’s been one of the greatest gifts in my life.
Joe Jingoli

I had a massive stroke 3 1/2 years ago. I couldn’t talk for three months; I had to re-learn how to talk. The only thing I could say was “and” and “Bernie Parent.” I’ve come a long way, and I’ve given a lot of people hope.
Brian Propp

On hate…

I must have been in sixth grade, and these six guys came over and pounded the pulp out of me, left me on the floor for dead, literally. Then one day, I was officiating at a wedding and some guy comes up to me. I recognize him right away. He was one of those guys. He says, “Remember all those great old days?” And I said, “Actually, no they weren’t.” I recounted to him the story, and you could see the fear in his eyes.  He said, “I wasn’t one of those guys, was I?” I said, “Yeah, you were.” There was freedom right there. This guy was standing right before me saying “Wow, that was a great wedding you just did,” and I gave him a taste of humility. My wife said he apologized. I don’t remember that. I said to him, “It’s nice to see you. Have a nice evening.”
Larry Sernovitz

I was a freshman in high school. We were all in the locker room, changing after gym class.  And this kid picks up a penny and says, “Ben, this is for you,” and throws it at me. I was stunned. I just stood there. And another kid, to my everlasting shame, takes the kid and throws him into the locker. He slaps him. I had never seen a fight before. “You threw that penny at him because he was Jewish.” “No, I didn’t, no, I didn’t.” Boom, he throws him again into the locker. I didn’t do anything. I stood there and watched a guy slap this kid and then throw him and walk away. To my everlasting shame, I just stood there and didn’t stand up to somebody whose ignorance had led him to do this thing. That was the moment when I said whatever I do in my life, I will never be the guy who just stands there. I was 14 years old.
Ben Dworkin

Life is about humanity. We have shooters who go into a church or a synagogue or a mosque and shoot people for no reason. How do we get people to look in each other’s eyes and see this is a person who was created just like we were? How do we see people for who they are, not for what people want them to be? I learned the need for that understanding early in my education.
Larry Sernovitz

On being a feminist…

I wouldn’t say I am a feminist, but I’m not an anti-feminist. If feminist means equal to, then I think everybody’s a feminist. I have a daughter, and she plays softball and basketball, and she tried wrestling. She says she’s going to Princeton to be doctor. And I’ll say, “Of course you are, why wouldn’t you?” I don’t think of that as being a feminist, I think that’s being a person.
Ryan Peters

I think a feminist is someone who supports gender equality.  So hell, yes, I’m a feminist.
Jim Cummings

The challenge for me is the definition of feminism. It means different things to different people. If it’s equality, I’m all for it. But it can get complicated, because so many people define it differently.
Rob Worley

Feminism means I respect women and expect them to be able to do anything that they want to do.
Ben Dworkin

On sacrifice…

You have to be able to sacrifice, you have to be able to outwork people in order to get ahead – work harder, sacrifice, stay late, be early, be prepared. Embrace that.
Ryan Peters

When you’re playing the long game, your sacrifice will pay off down the road. But you’ve got to actually know where you’re going.
Marquis Colson

The biggest sacrifice is your family feels the direct brunt of what you’re trying to accomplish. My wife is such a strong person, and she really got behind me. That makes a huge difference.
Jonathan Young

What was always scary to me growing up was hearing stories from people who were living in the past, talking about when they used to do that or when they had this house or they had that car. I never wanted to be that person. I decided early in the game that I would have to give up a lot to get what I wanted. I understood the power of sacrifice.
Michael Banks

On their parents…

My dad is the reason I am where I am today. He passed when he was 62. The year I interviewed to become a business agent for a carpenter’s union, he knew about the interview, but he died that June. I interviewed and got hired that November. I know he’s watching, but all of the staple moments of my adult life, it’s like I’m missing that piece.
Jonathan Young

In the 1960s, most teenage boys could tell you the name of every car, make and model. I had a mother who said, “But Jim, do you know the names of the birds? Can you tell me what kind of tree this is?” That was instilled in me, and it’s what my work is today.
Jim Cummings

When I was 7 or 8, I watched my mother deal with cancer. She had to make a choice: cut off her leg and stop the cancer from spreading or keep it and risk the cancer spreading, because she had four children to provide for. Watching her changed my life, because if she had not made that sacrifice – with what I went through in high school – I wouldn’t be sitting here with you right now.
Michael Banks

On their childhoods…

I came to this country when I was 16. When we arrived, our net worth was $2,000. That was it. We sold everything we had. It isn’t a unique immigrant story, but it’s a uniquely American story. I feel unbelievably blessed to be able to not only appreciate where I sit today, but to look back and realize all that has happened is not because of one journey, it’s a journey of the collective, whether it is people who lived here or immigrants who are here today or the immigrants who are yet to come.
Kris Kolluri

Most of the people in my family were policemen, garbagemen, firemen. I quit high school when I was 17 and got a GED in the Navy. My family really had no understanding of college. When I got out, I was standing in front of a mailbox with two envelopes in my hand: one was to the New York City Police Department and the other was to Trenton State College. I put the Trenton State College envelope in. So up until about 21, I was just floating around, not sure what I wanted to be. In college, I started to think academically and decided I wanted to go into public policy.
James Florio

On the #MeToo movement….

My mother had a plumbing company, and I remember as a 14-year-old boy her taking me to a meeting because she wasn’t comfortable going alone to a meeting with this man who had made some comments to her before. That really, really touched me. So in our companies, in all of our businesses, we tolerate none of it – ever.
Joe Jingoli

I’ve always been someone who’s very touchy. You know, I have a conversation with someone and I touch them on the arm. But I’m much more conscious of that now. Someone may perceive that touch in a very different way than I intended.
Jim Cummings

I’m a hugger. I was at an event and said hello to a woman, hugged her, and I felt her tense up immediately. It bothered me every day until I saw her again about a month later. I made a beeline to her and I said, “I apologize if I offended you in any way.” She knew exactly what I was talking about, and she said, “No, I realize that’s the world I’m in.” I said, “No, no, no, no, no, no, I need to respect you. You don’t need to change  because of what the people around you do.”
Jonathan Young

We can say all we want about a woman’s experience, but we’re not women. As men in power, we can never assume anything. It will be up to the men in power to change the culture.
Larry Sernovitz

On habits that make you successful…

Self-discipline is a fairly good thing to have. Being relatively successful brought about a lot of self-discipline. I’ve had to bite my tongue in a lot of conversations.  Self-discipline isn’t easy, but you have to do what you have to do.
Jim Florio

Paranoia of failure is something that drives you to be more competent. If you’re perpetually paranoid that you’re going to fail, you’ll be perpetually focused on doing the best you can.
Kris Kolluri

Most men I know who are successful learned from their failures. I’m a compilation of what didn’t work. I didn’t learn a lot from my successes, but I learned an awful lot from the stuff that didn’t work.
Joe Jingoli

You need to build successful relationships. I work really hard. I’m at the office early every day. I skate twice a week, Wednesday and Friday mornings. I play a lot of golf, and I’m happy with my life. But having those successful relationships is the key.
Brian Propp

On feeling like a success…

You think about what’s going to be on your gravestone. I wish I had worked more? That’s probably not what’s going to be on mine. But did I raise a family that’s contributing to the community? Did I provide stability, which was one of my big, big goals for my family life, because I didn’t have that. Are we still growing as a family? Yes. So I like to celebrate those little successes, but I don’t think of myself as being successful. You just take pride in what you’re doing, and keep going.
Rob Worley

I’m not there yet. I love the process. I love doing it, but there’s another Hard Rock to come around the corner, right? It’s what I do, it’s my job, and then you go onto the next one.
Joe Jingoli

I think of my success in the stories the kids tell me when they come back and share with me what they’re doing, who they’ve become. That’s how I measure success – not by what I’m doing, but by what I see.
Jim Cummings

Advice they received that’s worth sharing…

In the mid-term elections, when I was governor, we lost and the Republicans took over the legislature overwhelmingly. I got a call from [former] Governor Hughes, who said, “The advice I would give you is accommodate wherever possible, but never compromise your principle.” And advice I gave: Four weeks after Governor Christie took office he asked me for advice. I said, “Well, when I had political opposition, I tried to give some option to them killing me.” And he said, “That’s really not my style.”
James Florio

My mother used to say the world will exist tomorrow. Whatever screw-ups you have, the world will still exist.
Ben Dworkin

You work to learn, not to earn. My grandfather taught me that.
Michael Banks

I had a coach tell me to let the main thing be the main thing. Be laser focused, and always stay the course.
Marques Colson 

My mother would say, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else to measure your worth. Be happy with what you have.” And with your family, you should end every conversation with I love you. It’s important.
Rob Worley

On mentors…

Around 1980, I was working on a job in Camden, and I helped out with an issue on the job. I was a young guy, and the guy who owned the project asked what I wanted him to pay me. I said, “Would you teach me the business?” For the next five years, that man let me follow him wherever I could and freely taught me everything. I had to be the most annoying young guy, because I followed him everywhere. I would just show up.  But he taught me.
Joe Jingoli

Señora Dash, my 10th, 11th and 12th grade Spanish teacher, only spoke to the class in Spanish, but when she got mad, she talked in English. That’s when you knew things were bad. In my senior year, I really wanted to go to the University of Michigan, but I didn’t get in. She was on one of her tirades in class, she’s yelling about the French teacher and the principal and traffic she has to sit in, and then she says, “and Ben didn’t get into Michigan.” That blew me away.  I had a teacher worried that I didn’t get into the school I wanted. When I eventually decided to go back for my PhD, I dedicated my dissertation to her, because this is the woman who taught me about the value of academic rigor and the value of caring for your students.
Ben Dworkin

I’ve worked with Vernon Hill for 30 years, and watched him change the face of banking. And a senior lender taught me how to quickly gauge and read financial statements while you’re sitting in front of someone – not by studying it, but by absorbing and feeling it, so you have a feel for who that person is, what the company is. It’s like magic. It was like this little secret he showed me. You don’t want to miss who the person is by only hearing what they have to say. You want to observe, absorb and listen.
Rob Worley


MENU

Starter Choice
Porcini Mushroom Bisque
Field Greens

Entrée Choice
Filet Mignon 8oz
Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon
Jumbo Shrimp and Roasted Wild Mushroom Risotto
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Dessert Choice
Crème Brulee
Seasonal Berries
Chocolate Espresso Cake

June 2019
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