41 honored at N.J. Society of CPAs’ Ovation Awards

Forty-one individuals were the recipients of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants‘ 2022 Ovation Awards, representing outstanding achievements in seven categories: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Exceptional Educators; Emerging Leaders; Impact; Innovation; Lifetime Leader; and Women to Watch.

The winners were announced during the NJCPA 2022 Convention & Expo on Thursday. To learn more about the award recipients, click here.

“It’s an honor to award these prestigious individuals and celebrate their many accomplishments and dedication to the accounting profession. It is particularly rewarding to be able to do that in-person this year,” Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director at the NJCPA, stated.

The Roseland-based organization said winners are recognized by their peers, colleagues, members of the community and/or the NJCPA for significant contributions in advancing the accounting profession.

The selected winners presented exemplary ideas on their jobs or in their volunteering; utilized new uses of technology or in assisting clients/customers; made an impact in their communities; improved and enhanced the well-being of their employees or staff; exhibited leadership with the next generation of CPAs; made their mark in classrooms; promoted an open and diverse accounting profession; or were honored for a lifetime of dedication.

The winners in each category are:

Lifetime Leader

  • Michael Polito, CPA — Retired partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Parsippany

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • Keri Fleming — Chief people officer, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Al-Nesha Jones, CPA, MBA — Partner and founder, ASE Group, West Orange
  • Patrice K. Turner, CPA — Audit professional, Deloitte, Parsippany

Emerging Leaders

  • Ryan Berdnik, CPA, CFP — Senior manager, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Joseph W. Breen, CPA, MBA — Senior tax accountant, Withum, Red Bank
  • Kyle R. Drost, CPA — Assurance manager, Untracht Early LLC, Florham Park
  • Jay H. Guttmann, CPA — Partner, SRG Advisors LLC, Hackensack
  • Joseph F. Hunt, CPA, PSA — Audit senior, SobelCo, Livingston
  • Karen Nici-Talarico, CPA — Director, Merck & Co. Inc., Kenilworth
  • William C. Smitheman, CPA — Audit manager, Baratz & Associates P.A., Marlton
  • Christopher R. Stoop, CPA — Senior manager, EisnerAmper, Iselin
  • Rachel A. Suntag, CPA — Audit senior, Deloitte, Parsippany

Exceptional Educators

  • Amy Lysak, CPA, Ph.D. — Assistant professor, Rowan University, Glassboro
  • Sarah O’Rourke, CPA — Lecturer of professional practice, Rutgers Business School, New Brunswick


  • Neil Becourtney, CPA — Tax partner, CohnReznick LLP, Holmdel
  • James Blake, CPA — Partner and chief operating officer, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Robbin Caruso, CPA, CGMA — Partner, Prager Metis CPAs LLC, Cranbury
  • Nicole DeRosa, CPA, MAcc — Senior tax manager, Wiss, Florham Park
  • Della Hammer, CPA, CGMA — Chief financial officer, Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey, Monroe Township
  • Brian Lawrence, CPA, MBA — CEO, Fellowship Senior Living, Basking Ridge
  • Christopher Lovasz, CPA — Managing director, Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Parsippany
  • Jerry Maginnis, CPA — Executive in residence, Rowan University, and author, Sewell
  • Daniel Marques, CPA, MT — Principal, Drucker & Scaccetti P.C., Philadelphia
  • Alan Preis, CPA — Owner, Alan J. Preis, CPA P.C., Florham Park
  • Ainsley Reynolds, CPA, CGMA —New Jersey Division of Investment, Trenton
  • Michele Theuerkauf, CPA — Michele Theuerkauf, CPA LLC, Glen Rock
  • Edward Zollars, CPA — Owner, Thomas Zollars & Lynch Ltd., Phoenix


  • Vincenzo Antinozzi, CPA — Audit staff, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Daniel Geltrude, CPA — Managing partner, Geltrude & Co. LLC CPAs, Nutley
  • Shawn Henderson, CPA — Manager, Citrin Cooperman & Co. LLP, Livingston
  • Christopher Massood, CPA — Senior accountant, Massood & Co. P.A., Totowa
  • Ryan Warnet, CPA — Accountant, SKC & Co. CPAs LLC, Boonton Township

Women to Watch

  • Danielle Abrahamsen, CPA — Assistant controller, CommVault Systems Inc., Tinton Falls
  • Paula Ferreira, CPA — Office managing partner, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Michelle Gasiorowski, CPA — Partner, Bowman & Co. LLP, Voorhees
  • Courtney McLaughlin, CPA — Senior tax manager, Johnson & Johnson, Titusville
  • Lori Roth, CPA, ABV/CFF — National managing partner, Prager Metis CPAs LLC, Basking Ridge
  • Jenna Sanfilippo, CPA — Senior, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Caitlin Smith, CPA — Accountant, SKC & Co. CPAs LLC, Boonton Township
  • Valerie Thorpe, CPA — Manager, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick