About JANJ - JA of New Jersey Staff

Name Position Email
Angela CelesteJA BizTown
Ashley DoneckerDevelopment Director
Nel EdwardsOffice
Alicia FuscoSr. Program Director, North /
Celeste HardrickSr. Program Director, Central / South
Stephanie Karpowicz Director of Capstone
Gioia KennedyProgram Manager, North/
Dawn SchwartzSVP, Development &
Christy TigheDirector, College & Career

JANJ Staff Bios

Edward Ahart
Sr. Manager, Development

Ed began working with Junior Achievement in July of 2016. Prior to joining the JA Team, he worked in Development for The Arc of Monmouth and the American Cancer Society. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology/Sociology from Stockton University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University, focusing in non-profit management.

Ed sits on the Board of Directors for the Greenwich Cemetery Association and is part of the Alumni Association for Fairleigh Dickinson. He resides in Bridgewater, NJ with his fiancé and their two dogs,Maggie and Gordan. When not spending time with family, he enjoys seeing live musical performances,cooking and playing a variety of music.

Angela Celeste
JA BizTown Manager

Angela Celeste joined Junior Achievement in January 2015 as a JA BizTown Program Associate. She graduated from Indiana University in 2011 with a degree in International Studies and soon set off to South Korea where she lived for three years. While residing in South Korea, Angela taught English to elementary and middle school students. Angela enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. Angela is very much looking forward to helping BizTown grow and reach more students each year.

Ashley Donecker
Development Director

Ashley Donecker joined Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JANJ) in January 2013 to launch the new nationally recognized capstone program in the state of New Jersey. Ashley has spent more than 14 years working in the non-profit industry in the areas of programming, fundraising, marketing, and communications. Ashley began her non-profit career working with America SCORES, the nation's largest soccer, health, and literacy program serving youth in urban, low-income communities. During her tenure, she held a broad range of responsibilities including program and curriculum development, fundraising, marketing, and communications. In 2009, Ashley joined Carnegie Sports & Entertainment, an agency dedicated to cause marketing and philanthropy. As a Senior Vice President, Ashley specialized in non-profit start-up, fundraising, and marketing. Prior to joining JANJ, Ashley was the Development and Communications Manager for Minds Matter National, Inc., a college access program for accomplished, low-income high school students.

Ashley graduated from Messiah College in 2000 with a degree in Sport & Exercise Science and resides in New Jersey with her husband and two children, Noah and Haidyn.

Nel Edwards
Office Administrator

A NJ native, Nel joined JANJ in May of 2013 as the Operations Associate. As the Office Manager, she oversees the daily activities of the busy JA office. While raising her three children, she ran a small income tax practice and spent over 14 years as a Corporate Trainer at three community colleges - Middlesex County College, Mercer County Community College, and Raritan Valley Community College - teaching Workforce Development courses. The classes she taught encompassed a broad range of subjects including English as a Second Language, Pronunciation, Spanish for Managers, Basic Computer Skills, Business Writing, and Resume Writing. Concurrently she spent 7 years at Princeton Review teaching SAT Prep courses and tutoring. Nel currently works part-time for Mercer County Community College in the Excelling at Princeton program, teaching computer skills. A graduate of Rutgers College and the Graduate School of Management at Rutgers, Nel enjoys traveling, music and spending time with friends and family.

Alicia Fusco
Senior Program Director, North / Central

Alicia Fusco is from Lawrenceville, New Jersey and began working for Junior Achievement of New Jersey in September 2005 as a program manager for Northern New Jersey. Prior to working with Junior Achievement of New Jersey she worked at Journal Register Company and Summit Bancorp in Human Resources. Alicia volunteered with JA at Journal Register Company as the lead coordinator for the JA Central Bowl-A-Thon, recruiting teams to raise funds that helped support classroom programs.

Alicia established a strong relationship with Ron Richter of Franklin High School and began the JA High School Heroes Initiative in 2007, with 30 JA High School Heroes reaching over 700 students in the Franklin Township School District. In the past school year, it has grown to include more than 200 JA High School Heroes who taught approximately 5,000 students. In 2007, Alicia also started the internship program at Junior Achievement of New Jersey, helping high school and college graduates learn skills that they can use in their future careers. Alicia has a unique and positive attitude with her contagious laugh.

Alicia currently resides in Middlesex County with her husband Anthony Fusco Jr. and her son Anthony III.

Celeste Hardrick
Senior Program Director, Central / South

Celeste Blackmon- Hardrick hails from Trenton, NJ. She began at JANJ on October 2002 as a Senior Education Manager. As a Senior Education Manager she was responsible for the internal management of the day to day operations and processes including recruitment, implementation, development and training of volunteers and educators. She also developed and cultivated the first community-based initiative in Washington Township (Gloucester County) and through this pilot was able to expand and establish strong JA High School Heroes partnerships throughout South Jersey.

As Program Director, she is responsible for implementation and management of all JA programs including daily operations and management of support staff in the southern district of New Jersey which consists of eight counties.

Celeste also brings extensive business knowledge to the program team. Prior to working at JANJ, she was a physician underwriter at MIIX Insurance Group located in Lawrenceville, NJ where her responsibilities included writing new and renewal business policies for individual and group physicians as well as preparing and presenting detailed account data for management approval for major accounts over $250,000. She was also the liaison for five major broker agencies responsible for servicing their accounts and training new hires and underwriting assistants.

She is a graduate of Hightstown High School ’80, the Cittone Business Institute ’93, and the George C. Weiss Insurance School ’02. She has since obtained a Professional Certification in Business Administration.

She currently resides in Burlington Township, NJ with her husband, David Hardrick III, and has three children, and she loves to travel.

Stephanie Karpowicz
Director of Capstone Programs

Stephanie began working with JANJ on July 16, 2012 as a Development Associate. Now, Stephanie is the Director of Capstone Programs, overseeing all program operations for JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. She graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Environmental Policy, and a desire to work in the nonprofit sector. After graduation, Stephanie served as an AmeriCorps member at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, assisting with volunteer coordination and client services. She has a passion for education and is proud to be a member of the Junior Achievement of New Jersey team.

Stephanie resides in Bordentown, New Jersey, and enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and cat Bowie. In her spare time, she loves to read, go to the beach and enjoy nature.

Gioia Kennedy
Program Manager, North/Central

Gioia joined Junior Achievement in September 2015, as a Program Associate in North and Central New Jersey. Prior to joining Ja of New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in History and French Cultural studies. While at university, most of her free time was spent contributing to and editing her school’s arts and culture magazine, The Rutgers Review. Through her role at Junior Achievement, Gioia looks forward to inspiring and preparing more of New Jersey’s youth to reach their full potential each and every year.

Currently, Gioia resides in Jersey City, and volunteers as the Sustainable Schools Project Lead for Sustainable Jersey City, a collaborative network of grassroots organizations dedicated to making the city a more sustainable place to live and work. In her free time, Gioia enjoys reading, traveling, and hanging out with her ever-snoozing, 13 year old cat, Tommy.

Catherine Milone

Catherine Milone, President, Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JANJ), has 26 years of business experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Prior to JANJ, Catherine worked at ADP and had also served as the Vice President of Marketing for Junior Achievement of New York, where she began her post college career. In 2004, the Board of Directors representing Junior Achievement of New Jersey appointed Catherine as President, where she is charged to manage statewide operations that impact more than 68,000 students in 3,500 classrooms annually. Headquartered in Edison, she reports to the statewide Board of Directors consisting of senior-level executives.

In her tenure, Catherine and her team have turned JANJ into a thriving, fiscally-responsible nonprofit organization, and were awarded their ninth Star Award in 2016, and fourth JA USA Peak Performance Team Award in 2015. Catherine and Team received the 2014 Charles R. Hook Award, Junior Achievement USA’s most prestigious honor that recognizes an area president and staff whose professionalism and performance has promoted the growth and development of JA.

Catherine serves as Co-Chair of the Education and Workforce Development Committee for New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), is a member of the JA USA HR Committee, and an Independent Director for the KearnyBank Foundation. Most recently, Catherine was appointed and confirmed as a Commission Member for the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission, known as SETC.

Acknowledgements include NJBIA Leonard C. Johnson Award; NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business; South Jersey Biz Magazine’s 25 Women to Watch; Muriel Siebert Financial Literacy Partnership of the Year Award (presented by New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education), and Christ the King Prep School (Newark) President’s Award. Catherine is a graduate of Lead New Jersey, Class of 2011.

Catherine earned her B.S. in Business and Marketing at Utica College of Syracuse University. Formerly of Rockville Centre (Long Island, NY) Catherine resides in historic Mill Hill, a community of Trenton, NJ.

Sandra Quick
Senior Special Events Manager

A graduate of (SUNY) Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications, Sandra joined Junior Achievement as the Senior Special Events Manager in August 2012. She began her marketing career in Account Management working for various boutique advertising agencies in New York City. Sandra was responsible for managing advertising campaigns, national events and broadcast integrations for brands such as Ford Motor Company, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., and Colgate-Palmolive. In 2009, Sandra decided to make the transition into the nonprofit sector to fulfill her desire to help those in need. She worked as the Director of Marketing for a Newark based Community Action Agency and volunteered as a Marketing/Event Consultant for another nonprofit organization in Newark’s South Ward area. Currently, Sandra oversees events and fundraising activities for JA programs.

A former Brooklyn, NY native, Sandra resides in Somerset, NJ and enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Dawn Schwartz
SVP, Development & Communications

Dawn Schwartz is the senior vice president of development and communications for Junior Achievement of New Jersey (JANJ), and has been working for the JA cause for 16 years. Her nonprofit career began when in college at Arizona State University serving as a volunteer instructor at a local Boys and Girls Club where she first became passionate about helping children. She then pursued a career in the nonprofit sector working for Junior Achievement of New York, first as a program manager, and later, managing various fundraising efforts.

After leaving Junior Achievement of New York, Dawn worked and consulted for other nonprofits such as ORT and JCC MetroWest in such areas as capital campaigns, annual appeals, special events, board management, business development and grant writing. Under her current leadership role with JANJ, she is responsible for managing the company’s revenue-base, three regional boards, and the communications department.

Some of Dawn’s most noteworthy accomplishments in her development career include securing JANJ’s largest contribution to date in the amount of $1M to fund the JA BizTown capstone program, which is now housed in the JA Education Center next to JA Finance Park and the company’s headquarters; creating JANJ’s signature fundraising event, the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame™, which is the state’s premier platform in recognizing top business leaders; and rolling out Women’s Future Leadership Forums for promising high school girls throughout the state, which became a nationally recognized JA event, replicated around the country.

Dawn is a graduate of Arizona State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Communications with a minor in Psychology. She grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey but now resides in Livingston with her husband David, daughter Samantha and son Nathan. To follow Dawn on LinkedIn

Christy Tighe
Director, College & Career Readiness

Christy Tighe is Vice President for Education and Programs at Junior Achievement of New Jersey. JANJ inspires and prepares New Jersey’s youth to be the next generation of leaders through real world relationships with business, government and education partners who can help them develop the entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills to succeed in the global economy. The program team reaches over 46,000 students statewide with educational programs and leadership opportunities. Christy brings extensive knowledge of the challenges facing public education and the needs of New Jersey’s students. Most recently, she worked for the New Jersey School Boards Association facilitating leadership development through regional programming for local board of education members throughout the state of New Jersey, developing and presenting informational workshops for students and volunteers alike. As a member of the Leadership New Jersey class of 2011, she helped coordinate their successful class project, “Emerging Leaders,” an inspirational mentoring conference serving over 180 high school students from across the state. She is a former member of the Greenwich Township Board of Education, PTA chairperson, and active community volunteer. Christy is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Michael Troutman
Senior Program Manager

Michael began working with JANJ in September 2006. He is a graduate of Brown University '04 with a double major B.A. Economics and B.A. Visual Arts. Prior to working with JANJ, he obtained three years of broadcast production and design experience, including 2.5 years at Viacom - Black Entertainment Television (BET) and MTV Networks, and 3 years with Exit4 Holdings LLC. Current Exit4 partners include BET's Creative Services Department, Infinite Productions (Hip Hop Saved My Life), and Sleeping Dragon Entertainment. He also obtained three years of sales/marketing experience at 95.5 WBRU-FM in Providence, RI; Banana Republic; Target Stores; and PECO Energy Co. He is currently a member of Brown University Inman Page Council, the Brown Alumni Schools Committee (BASC), Building Our Youth’s Development (B.O.Y.D.) of NJ, the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and the Power & Purpose Media Ministry at Victorious Faith Christian Center.

He currently resides in Willingboro, NJ and enjoys raising his sons Michael "Tre' " Troutman III and Peter Corey. His favorite books are Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. He enjoys drawing, painting, creating music, and playing basketball.

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