Great Conversations

Great Conversations

On April 21, 2016, a capacity crowd of 300 people joined Morris Arts at our eighth annual fundraising gala, Great Conversations. It was the best dinner party in town — witha  fabulous and fascinating dinner host at each table! Where else can you meet, mingle and dine with an Olympic track champion, a famous radio personality, a former Secret Service agent, an internationally renowned climatologist,  the president of a  major corporation, or the MetLife Blimp pilot? Choose from an amazing array of talented and accomplished individuals, all of whom contribute to our vibrant community. It’s an unforgettable evening of great conversation, great dining and great company.

See some wonderful photos and a post event writeup by Kevin Coughlin, editor of


Learn about our 2016 Conversationalists in:
Arts, Sports, Healthcare, Science, Public Service, and Industry:


Susan Shapiro Barash
Gender Studies & Women’s Issues Authority; Author of 14 books including Little White Lies, Deep Dark Secrets:
The Truth About Why Women Lie
Bisa Butler
Fiber and Quilt Artist
Chris Cannon
Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen – Owner, Visionary Restaurateur; Michelin Star Chef
Mary Alice Williams
Acclaimed NJTV News Anchor; Former CNN and NBC Broadcast Journalist
Larry Fast
Electronic Music Composer, pioneering Audio Producer of platinum albums (including with Peter Gabriel); collaborating with Scott Morris on
Great Swamp documentary
Bob Gruen
Internationally renowned Photographer of Rock & Roll Legends (John Lennon’s personal Photographer)
David Keefe
Combat Paper NJ Founder; Artist; Marine Veteran
Broadway Bill Lee
Famed Radio Personality for WCBS-FM
Scott Morris
Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker; collaborating with Larry Fast on a documentary about Saving the Great Swamp
Dale Russakoff
NY Times Bestselling Author of The Prize: Who’s In Charge of America’s Schools?; former Washington Post Reporter


Joetta Clark Diggs
4-Time Track Olympian, Motivational Speaker, Author, & Wellness Advocate
Terry Dillard
Chief Pilot – MetLife Blimp “Snoopy One”
Dave Kaplan
Yogi Berra Museum – Founding Director; Co-authored 4 books with Yogi Berra including NY Times Bestseller When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!
Phillip Richter
Champion Equestrian, US Equestrian Federation, Hamptons Classic & Lake Placid Horse Show Board of Directors; Co-founder, Hollow Brook Wealth Management


Lidia Fonseca
Quest Diagnostics – SVP & Chief Information Officer
Mirian Graddick-Weir
Merck & Co. – EVP, Human Resources; among Black Enterprise‘s 50 Most Powerful Women
Mary Lou Panzano
Bayer Corporation – VP & Head of US Internal Communications
Ihor S. Sawczuk, MD
Hackensack University Medical Center – President
Suneet Varma
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare – President


Debbie Hart
BioNJ – Founding President & CEO; among Scientific American Worldview‘s 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology
David A. Robinson, PhD
NJ State Climatologist; Professor of Geography, Rutgers University
Stephen Zebiak, PhD
El Niño & Climate Expert; Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Public Service

Honorable Glenn Berman
Former Superior Court Judge – Presided over NJ’s 2012 landmark cyberbullying case: State v. Dharun Ravi
James G. Mottola
Former US Secret Service Agent;
Sobel & Co. – Director, Forensic Investigations/Litigation Support
Brigadier General Patrick W. Burden
Picatinny Arsenal – Senior Commander & Deputy Program Executive Officer Ammunition

with Lieutenant Colonel Ingrid A. Parker
Picatinny Arsenal – Garrison Commander


Marc Adee
Crum & Forster – Chairman & CEO
Richard E. Constable III
Wyndham Worldwide – SVP, Gov. Relations & Commercial Contracts; former Deputy Comm. NJ Dept. of Labor & Workforce Dev.; former Asst. US Attorney
Gerard Insall
Avis Budget Group, Inc. – EVP & Chief Information Officer
Douglas L. Kennedy
Peapack-Gladstone Bank – President & CEO; named Corporate Livewire‘s 2015 CEO of the Year
Valerie Oswalt
Mondelēz International – President, US Sales