ROI Influencers: People of Color 2020 (Difference Makers, N to R)

Sheila Oliver, Fabiana Pierre-Louis, Suuchi Ramesh and Carlos Rodriguez appeared in our Top 25 rankings. View them here.

Wendy Neu
Chair and CEO
Hugo Neu

She brings a fresh face as a developer with her Kearny Point project. She brings a fresh attitude as a business leader, recently penning an Op-Ed that questioned why business would oppose common-sense efforts to reduce pollutant emissions because it may (temporarily) hurt the bottom line.

Carlyle Newell
Managing partner

Newell has a lengthy track record of success in global executive searches, with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to privately held, family-owned firms, to venture-backed tech startups and private equity-backed portfolio companies.

Marcela Ospina Maziarz
Deputy commissioner
New Jersey Department of Health

Ospina Maziarz, who previously served as a deputy press secretary, is greatly respected from her time as on the Senate staff.  She oversees the area of hospital licensing and has been instrumental in supporting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Rajiv Parikh
Genova Burns LLC

Parikh continues to have the ear of the governor and continues to be a rising star. His legal expertise and knowledge of the way things work in the state make him a strong asset for Genova Burns. A credible and thoughtful individual, his ability to work quickly but quietly are what make him a sought-after ally.

Donald Payne
U.S. Representative (D)
10th Congressional District

Payne is the sole African American male in the New Jersey House delegation. He assumed his father’s seat upon his death. And, while he may have a quieter voice, he speaks loudly on issues of equity and equality. 

Chris Pernell
Chief strategic integration and health equity officer
University Hospital

Pernell has degrees from Princeton and Duke — and a resume that includes jobs focused on health justice, community advocacy and total population health. In this role, she will help implement community-based programs aimed at tackling the health disparities in Newark.

Marjorie Perry
CEO and president
MZM Construction & Management

She has a well-earned reputation as a tell-it-like-it-is leader in the construction industry, often giving speeches that inspire the next generation of minority and female leaders. An alumna of New Jersey Institute of Technology, she serves as chair of the school’s overseers.

Eliana Pintor Marin
Assemblywoman (D-Newark)
State of New Jersey

Pintor Marin always has been a force as the Assembly Budget Committee chair, but, as one of four legislators selected to sit on the committee that will approve Murphy’s planned bond sales, her influence has never been greater.

Braxton Plummer
Director of N.J. government affairs

A longtime player in Democratic circles, Plummer has worked up and down the state, for Booker when he was mayor of Newark, and for Murphy — and in numerous organizations. He’s currently the lead lobbyist for Verizon, where he is the director of state government affairs.

Ranjini Poddar
Co-founder and CEO

Poddar has been recognized nationally by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a female leader who has demonstrated a deep commitment to breaking down barriers for women-owned businesses in the corporate and government supply chains.

Satish Poondi

The health care lawyer is a key factor in the rise of South Asians in politics in the state. Poondi is a prominent leader at the Indian Business Association. Political circles are acutely aware of him, especially in terms of strongholds of South Asians.

Dennis Pullin
CEO and president

Pullin has piled up a number of honors since taking the top job at Virtua in 2017. He was named the “most admired” CEO in the South Jersey/Philly area by the Philadelphia Business Journal. And in 2018 and 2020, he was recognized as one of the country’s Top 25 Minority Executives by Modern Healthcare.

Arlene Quiñones Perez
DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Giblin LLP

She is a member of the Labor and Employment Practice Group, among others, and the director of diversity and inclusion at the firm. Her extensive government and political experience includes her service as a councilwoman in Clinton.

Lata Reddy
Senior vice president
Prudential Financial

Reddy harnesses the power of capital markets to drive financial and social mobility — overseeing Prudential’s $40 million in annual grants, in addition to its $1 billion impact investing portfolio. She helps position the company to promote inclusive economic opportunity.

Dana L. Redd
Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden board of governors

A former state senator and mayor of Camden — where she was one of the leaders of the widely praised total redesign of the Camden City Police Force — Redd is now the CEO of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden board of governors.

Lamont Repollet
Kean University

The former state commissioner of education took over the role as president of Kean this summer, promising to push the school from great to elite by pursuing a prestigious R2 Carnegie research classification. He wants to make Kean the next world-class research institution in New Jersey.

Ron Rice
Senator (D-Newark)
State of New Jersey

Longtime legislator lets you know where he stands — even his Democratic colleagues. Earlier this month, he accused Democratic legislative leaders of stalling a marijuana decriminalization bill — asking why there has been no movement in 30 months, while pondering structural bias.

Mike Ricketts
Founder, CEO

Ricketts founded QPSI in 1992 and has grown it into the largest privately-owned contract packaging company in the country. Along the way, he has driven his involvement in a variety of projects beyond QPSI — and has channeled his passion for leadership by mentoring young people.

Natasha Rogers
Chief operating officer and chief strategy officer
City of Newark

In addition to her duties as the chief operating officer in the state’s biggest city, Rogers was tabbed in June to lead the newly launched Office of Strategy Innovation and Investment, which is focused on urban innovation.

To view the entire list, click here.