"As leaders, we need to push each other," said Gen. Halstead, who was the first female Commanding General in U.S. history to command in combat at the strategic level by leading troops in Iraq. "Leadership is a fusion of heart and mind. There is often a struggle between the two, but you need both to be a leader."
She also encouraged the honorees to tap into their warrior ethos. "Never leave a ‘fallen' comrade behind and always take the time to remember," said Halstead, who shared that she carried dog tags with the names of the fallen soldiers in her command. "Putting faces to everything we do helps us to give more human responses and be more effective."
The commanding general's inspiring story of personal service and leadership reflects the goals of the TWIN awards program. Founded in 1974 to honor women business leaders and acknowledge their sponsoring companies for providing women with opportunities for advancement, TWIN is now the largest program of its kind in the tri-state area. In total, the tribute has recognized more than 2,000 women and 200+ companies in New Jersey's Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties and Rockland County, N.Y.
"This is always a special evening because it gives us the chance to celebrate the exceptional women and progressive companies in our community," said Helen Archontou, CEO of YWCA Bergen County. "It also allows us to spread the word about the many programs we provide as part of our ongoing commitment to empowering women and their families."
Proceeds from the event help support YWCA Bergen County's diverse women's health programs. The organization's childcare programs and summer camps also receive funding, as does the YWCA's Rape Crisis Center, which provides comprehensive services ranging from prevention programs to 24/7 crisis intervention for victims of sexual violence.
The recipients of the 2012 TWIN awards were: Kathleen Divers, Associate Vice President of Quality/Outcomes Management at Bergen Regional Medical Center; Dana Ponciroli, Strategic Communications Manager at Cytec Industries; Theresa Colarusso, Administrator Director of Nursing at Hackensack University Medical Center; Linda Stanton, MBA, BSN, RN, Administrator Director at Hackensack University Medical Center; Carol Ann Krupa, Senior Manager of ES Accounting Controls at ITT Exelis; Eileen C. Miele, Senior Manager at KPMG, LLC: Antje Williams, Brand Manager, Sprinter at Mercedes-Benz, USA, LLC; Nancy Flood, Vice President at PNC Bank; Jimin Liu, Manager of Treasury Services at PSEG; Carlotta Chan, Manager of Investor Relations at PSEG; Irma Pittman, IT Delivery Manager at PSEG; Lisa Benincosa, VP of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics at Roche Pharmaceuticals;
Also honored were Pamela Averso, who received the 2012 Heart of a Woman award in recognition of her longstanding commitment to TWIN and the YWCA; and Kloudya Molina, an outstanding student at Ramapo College who was awarded the Evelyn L. Atwater Scholarship.
Many corporate partners have been TWIN sponsors for 10, 20 and even 30 years, recognizing outstanding female employees for their business and community achievements. The sponsoring companies for the 2012 TWIN were Cytec Industries, Inc. and CPR Strategic Marketing Communications at the Leaders level; Hackensack University Medical Center, PSEG, Stryker, The Valley Hospital, Valley Home Care and Unilever at the Benefactors level; ITT, Mercedes Benz, PNC Bank, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Sharp Electronics Corporation and United Water at the Friends level; and Bergen Regional Medical Center, KPMG LLP and Van Dyk Health Care at the Patrons level.