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Women’s Conference: Learn. Laugh. Lunch.

Women’s Conference: Learn. Laugh. Lunch.
And the Luxury of Togetherness

*Please note the new date: Friday, August 14th*

If you are interested in registering for an open seat, please email Susan at

Because today’s world calls for a little Humor & Resiliency
Hear memorable speakers and sample subjects of interest all in one day.
Come out and play!

Emily Perl Kingsley

Emmy Award winning American writer, social activist

Emily Perl Kingsley with elmo and two other muppetsLife takes us on unexpected journeys. Emily Perl Kingsley’s story of unconditional love, courage and hope will captivate and inspire. When her son, Jason, was born with Down Syndrome, she and her husband made a choice to disregard the pessimistic advice of doctors, bring their newborn home, and see what they could accomplish. Moved by the challenges and rewards of raising a child with down syndrome, she wrote the prominent essay, “Welcome to Holland” which has been distributed throughout the world. As her personal journey impacted her career as a script writer for Sesame Street (45 years, winning 23 Emmy Awards), she spearheaded groundbreaking inclusion of children and adults with disabilities. A tremendous volume of disability-oriented curriculum flowed on to Sesame Street. Emily is recognized as a worldwide advocate and spokesperson for individuals with disabilities.

Whether you watched as or with children – everyone loves Sesame Street! Don’t miss Emily’s wonderful stories about the long, rich history of America’s most popular and influential children’s TV show. Her personal story, long and rewarding career, and advocacy adventures are illustrated with both Muppet and celebrity video clips – including many children, adults and celebrities (such as Christopher Reeve, Yitzhak Perlman, Linda Bove, Andrea Bocelli and others) she cast on Sesame Street.

Noreen Braman

Strategic Communications professional, author of Treading Water, a collection of humor columns and essays

Noreen Brennan and students putting their hands upLooking for something to smile about? Learn to fight stress with humor, joy, and happiness! Noreen Braman is a certified Laughter Yoga Leader who studied the Psychology of Laughter at Rutgers University, Science of Happiness through UC Berkley and a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH). She’ll take you to the smile side of life showing you how to laugh for the health of it. Her educational and active-participation program explores the importance of laughter, its role in human development, and its necessity as a survival mechanism. Sharing her years of experience, training, and unbridled enthusiasm, Noreen will show us how to improve health, happiness, and well being through the universal language of laughter. Get a dose of life’s best medicine!

Fri, August 14th, 9:30 am-3 pm
Fee and code: $79, XWOMN 203, includes morning coffee and lunch


A) Mother Jones: “The Most Dangerous Woman in America.”

Maureen Dunphy-Brady, M.A., NYU Glucksman Ireland House
Join Maureen for a lively discussion of Mary Harris Jones, known as Mother Jones, an Irish-born American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor organizer and representative and activist in 1890s to early 1900s. Jones words are still invoked by union supporters: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”

B) Can We Discuss Politics Without Indigestion?

Jamie Sussel Turner, professional coach, speaker, author
Do your political conversations erupt into screaming matches? Has this caused a divide in your family or friendships? Imagine having these conversations and enriching relationships instead of destroying them? It is possible and this workshop will show you how.

C) 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

Lyndell O’Hara, PhD, history professor, Nyack College
In 1848, a small group of women met in Seneca Falls NY at the first convention to discuss the social, civil and religious rights of women in the United States. Over the next seventy years, numerous ideas and pathways emerged in this battle for equality, often resulting in friction between the diverse groups as they all fought for the common goal of suffrage. Explore the lives and mission of many of these women, from the early leaders Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the more radical approach of Alice Paul and Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for president. And – cake will be served to celebrate!

D) The Life & Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Carl Calendar, PhD, former dean of humanities, Brookdale
Edna St. Vincent Millay burst on the national literary scene with her poem Renascence and later her first book of poems Figs From Thistles which made her the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. For the next several decades she shocked Americans with her loose lifestyle and daring poems which regularly outsold her male counterparts. She wrote a libretto for an opera, poetic dramas, short stories under an assumed name and scandalized polite society both in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Calendar will discuss her life and poems, especially her many love sonnets and their place in the American canon of literature.

E) Women & The Fabric of Their Lives *

Rebecca’s Reel Quilters
Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine
We’ll thread together tales from around the world of women and the expressive power of quilting. Touching on the history, explore the women-centered space created by this craft.
Through snippets of their stories and images of their quilts discover the healing, resilient, and often touching, relationship between women and quilting.

F) Looking Through the Lens of Impressionism

Gina Torello, adjunct art professor, professional artist
Perhaps no invention of the 19th century influenced Impressionism more than the camera. Join Gina for a colorful presentation of how photography gave rise to a new relationship to reality and its representation. An opportunity to create your own masterpiece offers the perfect finish to this eye-opening exploration.

G) Four Crak! Three Bam! Eight Dot! – Mah-Jong!

Ann Marie Greco, Nancy Goss, Mah Jong instructors
Discover the game passed down from mothers to daughters to friends. A staple in the 1920’s American Mah-Jong combines the elegance of Chinese characters with an additive balance of luck and strategy. Gain a basic understanding of the game’s fundamental components, including pieces, rules and playing strategy.

* This workshop is funded through the generosity of a friend of lifelong learning in memory of Pat Farrell; mother, grandmother, dear friend, and fellow lifelong learner who enriched the lives of many. Pat’s creative, generous, and loving spirit is beautifully expressed in the work of her quilts – some of which will be displayed at this year’s conference.


H) Clean Eating, Sugar, and Weight Loss

Andreea Fegan, holistic health coach and educator
Join Andreea of “Little Bites of Joy” as she makes Clean Eating easy to understand and apply. She will also describe her personal journey of healthy eating, ups and downs with sugar, and how she successfully lost 50 pounds with a health condition that made it difficult to lose weight. What were the biggest lessons, and what’s left to learn after weight loss?

I) Founding Mothers

Elisabeth Eittreim, PhD, history lecturer Rutgers University
Who are America’s “founding mothers”? Many people have a sense of the men who traditionally constitute the nation’s founding fathers, but fewer know or consider the mothers who birthed the nation. Thinking beyond the traditional heroines lauded in American history, Elisabeth will share stories about people you may know (or think you know) as well as others foundational in building the nation.

J) Women’s Wisdom Shared Through the Ages – A Storytelling Experience

Barbara Burke, Brookdale adjunct research writing instructor
Enjoy an interactive workshop focusing on the special stories women share and how they enhance and energize our lives – the ones Grandma told us and the ones we pass on. We’ll hear some wondrous tales of old… and share our hand- me-down stories of today. Let’s highlight these “at home” lessons and celebrate their wisdom. An opportunity to recall, reflect, and regale us with your sacred Women’s Voices!

K) Penelope Stout: First Lady of Middletown

Jeanne Vloyanetes, history professor Brookdale
Considered the “Mother of Middletown” and the “Mother of Monmouth County,” Penelope Stout is a local legend. Surviving a shipwreck near Sandy Hook, and a violent attack by the Lenape, she went on to become a pioneer settler in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. She went on to become one of the first women to live in the English colony of Nova Caesaria or New Jersey. Discover more about the fascinating story of a colonial superheroine, a Wonder Woman for New Jersey.

L) The State of the American Press

Jody Calendar, veteran award-winning newspaper editor, accomplished communication consultant
Having run two major newsrooms Jody has edited, written and supervised multiple nationally award-winning projects, and is a former director of the national Associated Press Managing Editors. Combining her expertise, keen insight, and wit, she’ll discuss the sensation of fake news offering a guide to fair and balanced Information.

M) Volunteering – Making a Difference

Margean V. Gladysz, Adjunct Professor, Instructor: Seton Hall University; Brookdale Community College
We can do no great things – only small things with great love – Mother Theresa.
Looking to make a difference but not sure how or where to look? Learn about
opportunities available for volunteering your time and insight into which ones
work best for you. Margean will share new and creative ideas about volunteering possibilities.


David Warner Student Life Center

9:30 – 9:45 am Morning Coffee, Check-in & Welcome (Navesink Rooms I, III, III)
9:45 – 10:40 am Emily Perl Kingsley
10:45-noon Morning Workshop (A-G)
Noon – 12:45 pm Lunch
12:45 – 1:30 pm Noreen Braman
1:45 – 3 pm Afternoon Workshops (H-N)

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