‘Amy represents the best of us. She’s smart, she’s kind and she’s Jersey’

Linda Bowden loved talking about the accomplishments of her friend, Amy Mansue.

How she served as deputy chief of staff for Gov. James McGreevey, as a health care policy expert for Gov. Jim Florio and co-chair of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Budget Transition Advisory Committee.

How she was the CEO of Children’s Specialized Hospital for 13 years, where she led a team of clinicians and therapists providing specialized care for children throughout New Jersey.

How she has served two roles at RWJBarnabas Health: as the president of its Southern Region and now as the executive vice president and chief experience officer.

And how she has served on a number of boards, including the Rutgers University board of trustees and New Brunswick Development Corp. — as well as serving as chair of both the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

But Bowden, the regional president for PNC Bank, loved giving the kicker more: None of these roles and accomplishments truly defines Mansue, she said.

In introducing Mansue as the 2020 winner of the Thomas H. Kean Sr. Business Leadership Award on Thursday night at the state chamber’s Walk to Washington dinner, Bowden — the chair of the chamber — said it is what is in Mansue’s heart that makes her worthy of the honor.

“Those of us who know Amy are well aware that her accomplishments cannot be measured by policy successes,” she told the crowd. “They cannot be measured by administrative achievements, but, rather, her passion to help the elderly, the sick and those with developmental disabilities transformed RWJ Barnabas and Children’s Specialized Hospital into a beacon of hope for thousands of children and families.

“This is the immeasurable legacy that Amy has forged in New Jersey and, yes, she has made New Jersey a very great place to live and work. Amy represents the best of us. She’s smart, she’s kind and she’s Jersey.”

Chamber CEO Tom Bracken agreed.

“Your award salutes an exemplary business career that includes much more than the success on the bottom line,” he said. “It is about creating opportunities and it is about supporting communities and philanthropic causes and making life better for all the people of New Jersey.”

Mansue, one of the most respected and well-liked leaders in the state, she was moved by the honor. And she admitted she nearly was speechless.

To her, a life of giving is the only life worth living.

“I grew up as an only child from two public school teachers who loved hard and fast and (were) trying to make sure that you always knew that you had a bigger responsibility than what you thought you did,” she said. “You need to care for others, you need to be present. You need to make sure you understand that it’s not always what you see, but you had to dig one layer deeper.

“And, I think this year, we learned that one layer deeper is to make sure that everybody has a seat at the table. We have a long way to go to make sure that happens.”

That challenge, Mansue said, goes out to everyone.

“I think about the passage, ‘To whom much is given, much is required,’” she said. “There is a lot required of each of those. We sit here today with much privilege. We sit here today with great opportunity, and I accept this award, not for myself, but for all the people that blazed the trail before me, men and women.

“And most importantly, I would challenge each of us stand ready to listen, to help and to care because that will make us better people and a better state.”