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Posted Monday, April 17th, 2017

Tickets are now on sale for Morris Arts’ 9th Great Conversations to be held on April 27 at the Madison Hotel in Convent Station. Join Morris Arts for the best dinner party in town, where guests can mix and mingle with a stellar lineup of prominent and fascinating host conversationalists.Morris Arts: 9th Annual

This event offers guests the opportunity to meet and talk face-to-face with such luminaries as a Metropolitan Opera soprano; a national bestselling author; a former Wall St. Journal and NY Times journalist; a two-time Super Bowl champion; a leading scientist researching links between climate and disease; a visionary sustainability entrepreneur; a prizewinning chef or another similarly fascinating, accomplished individual.

When you register, you sign up for your top five conversationalist choices in priority order, and whom you will meet at a special reception. At a  7:15pm dinner, guests will have the opportunity to converse in more depth with a specific host selected in advance.

Seating assignments are made based on when we receive your paid registration. This popular event fills up quickly so be sure to buy your tickets early.

“This is a terrific undertaking by Morris Arts that really lends itself to the reputation of Morris County as a great place to live, work, get a college education, raise a family, and locate a business,” said Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers. “Morris Arts constantly adds beauty and balance to our lives, while contributing to a cultural climate that lends itself to a high quality of life for all county residents.”

Host conversationalists this year include the following distinguished individuals:


photo of Guy Adami

Guy Adami

Guy Adami: An original member of CNBC’s Fast Money; trader, TV personality and investor

Phil Alongi: NJTV – Executive Producer NJTV News and Director of Program Development; among NJBiz Forty Under 40

Leslie Bennetts: Renowned Vanity Fair journalist & first woman to cover national politics for NYT; author of  Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses and Liberation of Joan Rivers & the national bestseller, The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?

photo of Jennifer Check

Jennifer Check

Jennifer Check: Highly acclaimed Metropolitan Opera soprano singer

David Drake: Executive Chef & Partner – Rudolph’s Steakhouse, Bernardsville; prominent French-inspired visionary chef; James Beard nominee

Nicholas Gamarello: Fine and graphic artist; former fashion designer for Polo Ralph Lauren and Stetson; historical aviation artist of fighter pilot leather bomber jackets

photo of Carol Montgomery-Forant

Carol Montgomery-Forant

David R. Jones: The New York Times – Assistant Managing Editor (ret); esteemed former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalist

Carolyn Montgomery-Forant: Award winning vocalist, recording artist, songwriter and cabaret singer

Michael Aaron Rockland: Professor of American Studies Department, Rutgers; author of books on NJ culture including Looking for America on NJ Turnpike; New Jersey Monthly regular contributor

John Schreiber: President & CEO, New Jersey Performing Arts Center


photo of Lindsay Berra

Lindsay Berra

Lindsay Berra: national correspondent; spearheaded successful campaign to have the

photo of Damien Woody

Damien Woody

Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded for her grandfather, Yogi Berra

Derek Sprague: PGA of America – Honorary President; Liberty National Golf Club – Managing Director

Damien Woody: Two-time Super Bowl Champion; former Pro Bowl Offensive Lineman; NFL Analyst for ESPN


photo of Shirell Gross

Shirell Gross

Shirell Gross: Bayer Pharmaceuticals – VP and Chief Legal Counsel, Bayer Radiology; recipient of Top Blacks in Healthcare Award

Bonita Stanton, MD: Founding Dean of NJ’s new medical school, Seton Hall University – Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine; nationally recognized expert on pediatric medicine

Mark J. Guinan: Quest Diagnostics – EVP & Chief Financial Officer



photo of David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg: AeroFarms – CEO & Co-Founder of clean-technology company building advanced vertical farms in urban environments; serial entrepreneur of clean-tech companies.

Madeleine Thomson, PhD: Senior Research Scientist focusing on the intersection between climate and disease for the Int. Research Inst. for Climate and Society, Columbia University



photos of Pamela O. Abalu

Pamela O. Abalu

Pamela O. AbaluMetLife – Chief Architect; responsible for MetLife’s workplace design and construction for 2,000+ sites in 60+countries, Crain’s 40 under 40; one of 400 licensed African American female architects

Sunita Holzer: Realogy Holdings Corp. – EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer

Clark F. Machemer: The Rockefeller Group – SVP & Regional Development Officer


photo of Shelley Wright Brindle

Shelley Wright Brindle

Shelley Wright Brindle: Former HBO C-suite executive; founder of consulting firm focused on digital transformation, creating innovative cultures & mentoring millennials, entrepreneurs & female leaders

Irene Chang-Britt: Independent Board Director & Strategic Advisor; 30 years in Consumer Packaged Goods including President and C-Suite executive at Pepperidge Farm

Dennis Budinich: Investors Bank – SVP & Chief Culture Officer; member of The National Speakers Association

photo of Mario Casabona

Mario Casabona

Mario Casabona: Founder & CEO of TechLaunch, NJ’s first Technology Accelerator; entrepreneur & angel investor

Claude Draillard: Honda Aircraft Company, VP Finance

photo of Athene VanMazijk

Athene VanMazijk

Arthur Orduña: Avis Budget Group – Chief Innovation Officer

Anthony R. Slimowicz, Esq.: Crum & Forster Insurance – Executive Vice President; recipient of the Freedom House Distinguished Citizen Award

Athene Van Mazijk: Mondelēz International – VP, Human Resources, North America

This very popular event fills up quickly so be sure to buy your tickets early, available online at Proceeds from Great Conversations help to support the many programs and services provided by Morris Arts.

Often accomplished “behind the scenes,” Morris Arts’ work serves hundreds of thousands of people each year – with arts in education programs, arts programming in the community, grants, scholarships, advocacy, innovative community-building/creative placemaking events and support for artists and arts organizations.

These efforts are critical to enriching and improving the quality of life in the broader community.   Come and savor the art of live conversation, meet some extraordinary individuals and help a truly worthy organization give back to its community.

Morrisarts logoMorris Arts gratefully acknowledges the generosity of our sponsors: Mariner Wealth Advisors-Madison; Bayer; Crum & Forster; Hackensack University Medical Center; MetLife; NJ Advance Media; NJTV; PwC; Mondelez International; Quest Diagnostics; Realogy; Rockefeller Group; The Avis Budget Charitable Foundation; Delta Dental of New Jersey; investors Bank; JWeber Creative; Ketchum Communications; MCM Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley; Morristown Medical Center; Normandy Real Estate Partners; Pfizer Consumer Healthcare; Fox Rothschild; NK Architects; Riker Danzig; Sherman Wells Sylvester and Stamelman; and Kings Food Markets.