Photo: David Michael Howarth

For more than 2 decades, SJ Mag has been dedicated to championing women in South Jersey. From our Women’s Empowerment Series to our Women of Excellence Awards, Millennials Looking for Mentors podcast, Women’s Roundtables and monthly magazine articles about incredible and interesting South Jersey women, we celebrate the positive impact women have on our communities.

Sometimes, when we interview women about their lives and experiences, what they have to say makes make you stop and think. Sometimes you learn something new. Sometimes they’re just plain funny or totally unique. But all of the time, they’re completely inspiring.

Check out some of the best quotes we’ve heard from women over the years.

On Personal Experiences

“I was walking in North Camden and this boy comes running to me, because they were shooting at him. He’s running toward me, and he collapsed at my feet. When I reached to see if he had a pulse, he had collapsed and died. That was the moment I said I’m going to continue to fight for this city. That’s how I got involved in politics, because I witnessed someone dying at my feet.” –State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Women’s Roundtable

“In Sept. 2010 my son Sal died of a heroin overdose. I failed my son, because every parent is supposed to protect their children and outlive them. I’ll always feel like I failed my child.” –Patty DiRenzo, Women’s Roundtable

“The moment I realized everything had changed was when I was talking with former Eagles long-snapper Jon Dorenbos, and in the middle of the interview my 2-year-old walked in and said, “Mommy, I have to poop.” 6abc’s Jamie Apody, in a moment that had everyone laughing at the Women’s Empowerment Series

“About 10 years ago, I was out to dinner, and I’m sitting next to an institutional colleague. All of a sudden, his hand is on my thigh. So I’m trying to figure out what to do about it. I move over, and he slides his chair over…Sometimes the choices we face aren’t always easy. It annoys me so much – I just don’t think women are feeling up all the guys. I don’t think they have to confront the many things we have to confront, so it adds to the challenge.” – Temple Provost JoAnne Epps on discrimination in the workplace, Women’s Roundtable

“For years I was the one who created the schedules, made the decisions, set the rules and just made sure everyone was doing what they needed to do. Honestly, it was exhausting, and while part of me doesn’t mind giving that up, there’s a part of me that feels the loss. I had this well-defined role that came with important responsibility and beautiful rewards, and now it’s gone. Or at least, it’s very, very different,” – Marianne Aleardi on “Un-Parenting,” Wide Awake

“I went to the hospital, and they weren’t going to let me in until I let them know the doctor had called me and said he was critical. The security guard said, ‘Well I have to call my supervisor because they usually only let people up if the person is going to die.’” –Amy Breslow, whose husband was one of the first Camden County Coronavirus patients, on a Facebook Video Series

Career Advice

“Keep your base of relationships really healthy and don’t worry about not having that one guru who’s by your side in every step you take throughout your career. Keep your relationships healthy and tap into those people who you know are the right people at the right time – and be intentional about your willingness to give back to them in return.” – Philadelphia Ealgles VP of Marketing & Media Jen Kavanagh micro-mentoring, Millennials Looking for Mentors Podcast

“Even though I have achieved so much, I work and train as if I have achieved nothing.” –U.S. Gold Medalist Carli Lloyd, on her work ethic at the “Inside the Mind of a Champion” special event

“I was on a call, and we were getting called out for some things. And I said, “Could I just say something? We’re experiencing staffing issues, like every other organization. We genuinely care and want to get this right. We give a damn. But we need help, because I can’t do 2 things at once. What can you do to take some of this off our plates so we can dive head first into this program and get it right for our clients?” All of a sudden I hear ping, ping, ping, and leaders from all over, like in Fort Lauderdale, are messaging me saying thank you for speaking up, for having the courage. It was the best move I made. And then the leader who was on the call called me to comb through all the issues we needed to resolve and put a task force together to solve that. It was scary, but it was empowering.” Chantal Capodicasa, SVP/Regional VP of Commercial Banking, TD Bank, on speaking up at the Women’s Empowerment Series

On Making a Difference

“There were young women who had been on the streets since they were 12 or 13 and now they were 18 or 19. When they were released, many didn’t have a place to go and they started losing hope. We take in women at the lowest point of their lives. A lot of them are coming straight off the streets and have nothing with them. When you put someone who has experienced trauma like that into a loving, peaceful environment, you can see them changing and becoming more relaxed.” – Francina Pendergrass, Founder/President, Hannah’s House and SJ Mag 2022 Women of Excellence Awards Lifetime Legacy honoree.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about my father, who’s 77 years old. I shouldn’t have to worry about the men I love. I shouldn’t have to worry about people who look like me.” –Kimberly S. Reed, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Strategist on a Facebook Video Series Interview

“I feel so strongly about speaking out for transgender kids just like me. But honestly, in my opinion, being transgender is the least interesting thing about me. It’s also really empowering being able to stand in front of the world and say, ‘This is who I am, and it’s okay to be who you are too.’” – Rebekah Bruesehoff, a teenager transgender activist in Camden County. March 2021 issue.

 

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