Four business leaders have been recognized for their contributions to the Princeton area business world.
The honorees accepted their Business Leadership Awards at a dinner attended by more than 230 business leaders, local officials and friends held at the Tournament Players Club Jasna Polana on Nov. 28, 2012.
“Being honored as Innovator of the Year by this community means a great deal to me. I’m proud of my innovation 51 years ago when I offered a test to match people to jobs, which no one thought could be done,” said Honoree Herb Greenberg, founder and CEO of Caliper. “My fondest hope today is that my innovation related to hiring and developing people based on who they are –rather than what they’ve done – will be of equal or even more importance than that initial innovation.”
“When I started my business almost 25 years ago I relied strongly on networking to help me with everything from building my customer base to finding friends I could rely on for business support and advise,” said Entrepreneur of the Year Georgianne Vinicombe, owner of Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Company. “Fast forward to 2012 and being named Entrepreneur of the Year is the largest honor I've ever received. I admire so many of the people I've met over the years at the Princeton Regional Chamber. Knowing that I'll be standing before them to accept the award is both thrilling and humbling.”
The newest award, Community Leader of the Year, is reserved for the non-profit community and past honorees include Nancy Kieling of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Leslie Burger of the Princeton Public Library and Judith and William Scheide.
“We feel lucky to have spent 32 years at Isles exploring ways to bring meaningful change alongside communities that we respect and love,” said this year’s Community Leader of the Year Martin Johnson, president of Trenton-based Isles Inc.. “But it takes more than an organization or even a village to raise great places. It takes a region, and business leaders increasingly know that Trenton’s future and the health of central Jersey are joined together. That makes us optimistic even when there are many reasons to be cynical. I am honored to be recognized this way by the Chamber.”
Recognizing businesses for their contributions to the community is a Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce tradition.
“The Annual Business Leadership Awards Gala is the Chamber’s premier business recognition event for leadership in our region. This recognition is the oldest program of the Chamber, dating back to the beginning of the Chamber in 1960 and is the most anticipated event of the year,” said Peter Crowley, president and CEO. “This year’s honorees represent a cross section of the diversity of the businesses we represent. We are thrilled for each of our awardees.”
The honorees are:
- Business Leader of the Year: Peter Inverso, president and CEO of Roma Financial Corp. Former Sen. Inverso contributes to the region through his service in one of the area’s leading financial institutions, Roma Financial Corp, which includes Roma Bank and RomAsia. He led Roma through a public offering in 2006 and has grown the company’s assets from millions to billions during his tenure and forming Roma Financial Corp. and RomAsia Bank. A Hamilton resident, Inverso will retire this year after leading Roma Bank as president and CEO since September 2000. He also served in the State Senate from 1992 to 2008.
- Innovator of the Year: Herb Greenberg, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer, Caliper. Overcoming adversity, Dr. Greenberg created an international management consulting firm, which, for over 50 years has assessed the potential of more than three million individuals for over 28,000 companies around the world. Caliper has offices in 13 counties. A recognized authority on the relationship between personality and job performance, Dr. Greenberg developed the Caliper Profile, a proprietary personality assessment, which identifies the potential, motivations, and strengths of applicants and employees. For some time now, Dr. Greenberg has done outreach with veterans, where he provides the Caliper Profile, free of charge, to veterans looking to get back into the workforce.
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Georgianne Vinicombe, President and Co-Owner, Monday Morning Flower & Balloon Company. After getting her start in the business world cleaning houses and owning a bagel and muffin shop, Ms. Vinicombe started her flower company out of a spare bedroom of her rented condo after reading a book on easy to start businesses. She thought delivering balloons and flowers to corporate offices for their lobbies on Mondays might be fun, along with event decorating. From there the idea for Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Company was born in 1988 and is still growing like a weed. She loves meeting with other small business owners and truly believes that there are more ways to market a company than there are hours in the day.
- Community Leader of the Year: Martin Johnson, founder and president, Isles, Inc. For more than 30 years, Johnson and his company have been working in Trenton to improve the community with sustainable development. The organization trains and educates underserved youth through Isles’ Youth build Institute and underemployed adults and contractors throughout the state in “green” careers through the Center for Energy and Environmental Training. Isles also helps to grow tens of thousands of pounds of food on vacant land each year, restores energy efficient, healthy homes and commercial buildings, provides financial services and wealth creation tools in partnership with employers, and greens neighborhoods by building parks, planting trees, installing cool roofs, and more. Marty is founding President of New Jersey Community Capital, founding trustee of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, founding President of Building One New Jersey, and founder and former Chair of the Success Measures Project, a national effort to improve impact measures for community building work. He is a former visiting fellow and frequent lecturer at the Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served as a Princeton University trustee and member of its executive committee. Johnson is on the Capital Health board of directors. He has received a presidential “Take Pride in America Award,” and numerous other honors.