Monica Martinez Milan, the owner of Stumpy’s Hatchet House in Green Brook, a board member of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and a widely-sought-after thought leader and mentor to numerous entrepreneurs around the state, has been named the new chair of the Somerset County Business Partnership.
Martinez Milan, who previously served as vice chair of the organization, succeeds outgoing Chair Chris Zarelli, who completed a two-term at the end of 2023. She began in the role Jan. 1.
Martinez Milan is the first Hispanic woman to serve as chair of the 105-year-old organization, which has more than 840 members and represents more than 70,000 employees in Somerset County.
Zarelli applauded the announcement.
“I have had the privilege of working side by side with Monica for the past several years,” he said. “When we first met, I knew Monica as a successful businesswoman. Over time, I learned that her success spans much further than just her work. I have seen this firsthand with her family, colleagues and SCBP members.”
Somerset County Business Partnership CEO Chris Edwards said Martinez Milan is the perfect person to help lead the organization forward.
“Over the past two years, this organization has completely recovered its membership loss from the pandemic, created a whole new division for diversity & inclusion, and has paved the way for the next era on the organization when we open our new headquarters later on this year,” he said.
Martinez Milan said she’s eager to serve.
“Our strong performance as a unique organization that is a public-private partnership with Somerset County reflects more than just what a chamber has to offer, it exemplifies the bonds that we have within our Somerset County community and beyond, by making it a special place to live and do business, where leadership and networking make a difference,” she said. “As incoming chair, I am so grateful to have the support of our outgoing chair, Chris Zarelli, who has been a member of our chamber for over 15 years and is an outstanding leader and colleague.”
The SCBP enjoys a unique public-private partnership with the Somerset County board of county commissioners to provide economic development and tourism services. This collaboration creates a single voice for active businesses in the county, helping it to speak with a unified voice in order to advance a strategic agenda that makes Somerset County an ideal place to live, work, learn and play.
Martinez Milan wants to enhance that.
“Cheers to our collaborative efforts as a business community, as we all collectively play an important role in improving our local economy,” she said. “As we evolve and grow, we will continue to celebrate achievements, focus on elevating our large and small business community and bring more programs and networking to our members.”
Zarelli said Martinez Milan has both the business acumen and personal touch that is needed to be a leader.
“Monica has a special trait of truly being genuine and always looking to help others first,” he said. “She is a true leader in our community, and I am confident that the Somerset County Business Partnership will benefit with her in the role as chairwoman of the board of directors.”